Parting words of wisdom from a lifelong public servant

SEATTLE — After more than a quarter century of service to the people of Seattle, Deputy Police Chief Chris Fowler announced his retirement on Thursday.

Fowler also retired as a brigadier general from the Washington Army National Guard earlier this year, where he served his country for more than 30 years, commanding over 6,000 soldiers and serving two tours in Iraq.

Reflecting on a life in public service, Fowler said he looked back with no regrets.

“It’s incredibly rewarding,” he said. “There’s sacrifice. However, the benefits that you gain, the personal reward you get from public service you can get nowhere else.”

WATCH: Chris Fowler sat down with Q13’s Brandi Kruse to talk about the rewards and challenges of public service. 

In the fall, Fowler will become the deputy director of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission. There, he will have an opportunity to shape future generations of police officers.

Asked what his advice would be for those considering a career in law enforcement, Fowler said sometimes it takes "a leap of faith."

“I think the basic core requirement is that you’re ethical and moral and honest. As long as you’re honest and you believe in what you’re doing and in public service, then it’s open to a wide range of people.”

Chief Carmen Best, who officially took over the helm of the Seattle Police Department earlier this week, said she would remember Fowler for his poise under pressure.

“I will not only miss his steady leadership but his calm demeanor and sense of humor, even under the most intense moments,” she wrote.

During his time at SPD, Fowler served in a variety of roles, including narcotics, SWAT, and as the captain of the West Precinct during a period when the city was working to get street disorder under control downtown.

More recently, Fowler is perhaps best known for leading the department’s response to May Day riots. As incident commander, Fowler managed the police response to every aspect of the protests, including how and when officers would react to growing hostility.

“Any learning organization will look back and see that there are lessons learned and ways to improve," he said. "I think holistically as a department we’ve responded very well. Can I say that in 100% of the circumstances in every demonstration that we’ve had to manage that it’s been 100% perfect? No. But what I’d like to think is that we’ve been able to learn from those areas, that we’ve been able to do something better and we’ve done that in the next event.”

Chief Best has named Marc Garth Green as the department's new deputy chief. Garth Green previously served as assistant chief in charge of investigations.