Guilford County Security Director Jeff Fowler doesn’t look anywhere near old enough to retire, but that’s exactly what he’s doing on Friday, Feb. 28, when he will hang up his gun and walk off into the sunset.
Since 1999, Fowler has been charged with the duties of keeping the Guilford County commissioners, the 2,300 county employees and the property they work on safe. He currently oversees 17 full-time security officers as well as contract workers that are called in as needed.
Fowler, 65, could pass for someone in his 40s, but, while he looks young, he said this week that he’s ready to end his time with the county. He said he’s getting older and now he has 25 years of service with the county that will count toward his retirement. Fowler served as a Guilford County Sheriff’s Department deputy before becoming the county’s security director.
Before coming to work for Guilford County, Fowler served for 20 years with the US Air Force and spent about half that time in Korea where he picked up the language and met his wife.
“I’ve got about 45 years of government service so I thought I would take it down a notch,” Fowler said, adding that he thinks this is a good time to walk away.
He said that, late last year, he informed Guilford County Manager Marty Lawing of his decision.
Guilford County has now posted an ad seeking applications for his replacement.
Fowler has had a very successful two decades protecting the county’s employees and elected officials. Though he and his staff have dealt with some alarming situations over the years, county employees and county commissioners have been well protected under his watch.
Also, since he has taken the job, Guilford County has enhanced security in many ways, such as adding metal detector screenings before county commissioner meetings, placing a full-time guard at the entrance to the Old Guilford County Court House in downtown Greensboro and limiting access to county buildings.
One of the few scary events for the Guilford County commissioners happened just months before Fowler took the job as security director. A disgruntled man, E.H. Hennis, held up an object at a meeting that appeared to be a bomb and a good deal of panic ensued. Fowler wasn’t security director at that time, but, in the coming years, Hennis remained one to watch for Fowler and his staff.