There is service to the county and then there’s service to the county.
Guilford County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Gary McDaniel, is stepping down at the end of this month after working for the county for a half century. McDaniel oversees the deputies working in Guilford County’s two courthouses,
McDaniel said he isn’t sure if any county employee has served longer than he has but he added that he is certain he’s the longest serving employee of the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department.
McDaniel began working for the Sheriff’s Department on April Fools Day 1969, and now, at the age of 72, he said, he figured that was long enough.
“It will be 49 years and seven months,” he said, adding that, with accrued sick days and unused vacation time, he will be officially recorded as having 55 years of county service.
For years, McDaniel has overseen the bailiffs in the county’s two courthouses and has been in charge of the transfer of inmates from the jail to the courtroom and back.
“I make sure the courts are covered,” he said. “I make sure the judges are satisfied. A judge might say to me there’s a light bulb out in the court room and I will take care of it.”
According to McDaniel, there have been plenty of times over the last 50 years when it’s been very eventful at the two courthouses.
“The biggest thing I can remember was the Klan-Nazi trial,” he said of the famous trial that took place in downtown Greensboro in the early ‘80s. Those days we didn’t have much security and we had to borrow magnetometers [metal detectors] from the airport.”
In another incident he remembers well, he said one time a defendant who was found guilty went ballistic and it took three or four bailiffs to bring him under control. McDaniel said the judge tacked eight years onto the man’s sentence in addition to the prison time he’d already been given.
McDaniel said that, when he first started working for the Sheriff’s Department, he worked downtown in the City of Greensboro’s jail right after the oversight of that jail was transferred to Guilford County due to a change in state law.
Many coworkers and others have spoken very highly of McDaniel and the contributions he’s made to the court system and the Sheriff’s Department over the years.
Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes was one of many who offered high praise for McDaniel.
“Gary has been the rock in the courthouse,” Barnes said. “He’s been doing a good job and has great relationships with the judges and with staff.”
McDaniel said it’s time to retire but it’s not easy.
“I’ll miss the people,” he said.