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First female investigator retires from FCSO
Garner retiring after 34 years
Jean Garner accepts a plaque from Forsyth County Sheriff Duane Piper, right, and Maj. Paul Taylor during a retirement ceremony Thursday. - photo by Alyssa LaRenzie

Sheer boredom started Jean Garner’s law enforcement career more than 34 years ago.

With her youngest daughters having started school, Garner looked for ways to keep busy, including driving to the electric company to drop off her bill. She could have mailed it, but just needed to get out of the house that day.

On the drive home, Garner passed the Forsyth County jail.

“I thought, ‘I wonder if they’ll hire me?’ So I went in and filled out an application,” she said. “The next day, I went to work.”

The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office celebrated her career Thursday with a retirement ceremony.

Garner, who was the agency’s first female investigator, leaves her 34 years of employment as a deputy sheriff II.

She held a variety of jobs within the office through six sheriff administrations, starting with Wesley Walraven.

Sheriff Duane Piper said he couldn’t name all the roles Garner had taken on.

“She’s done absolutely everything you can do here,” Piper said. “I got to spend about a year under her — discipline. We were cleaning up the evidence room at one point. She doesn’t let you sit still very long.”

Garner was well-known within the agency for her work ethic and organization.

Maj. Paul Taylor, head of enforcement, said Garner gave him a briefing every morning on the night’s activities “because she’d already read everything.”

Taylor joked that he’d been “spoiled,” as he told Garner how much he’d miss her.

“Thank you for all you’ve done,” he said.

Garner told the group she’d enjoyed working at there, meeting people and having an opportunity to make a difference.

She may be retiring, but Garner doesn’t have any plans to be idle.

“Oh, I’ll find something to do,” she said.