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Fred Cephas named Gwinnett County’s 1st-ever Black fire chief


Gwinnett County has made history by naming its first-ever Black Fire chief Fred Cephas. The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners approved the recommendation and appointment.

Cephas replaces previous chief Russell Knick, who served in the position since 2018 and is moving into a leadership position within the County Administrator’s Office.

After joining the Air Force in 1996, Cephus was assigned as a first responder at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. Once out of the military, Cephas served the Winston-Salem Fire Department before moving to Gwinnett County in 2001. He quickly rose through the ranks – eventually becoming deputy fire chief in 2020.

County Administrator Glenn Stephens said, “With his military background and over 20 years of experience in Gwinnett Fire and Emergency Services, Fred brings a wealth of knowledge to his new role as chief.”  

Cephas said the commitment, resilience, and courage he saw in the men and women of the Gwinnett County Fire Department made him proud to lead the department. “I’m committed to serving others – and at its core, that’s what public service and public safety are all about,” said Cephas. “I am truly honored and humbled to continue to serve the county that I love, while understanding there is still more work to be done.”

Cephas’ promotion will be effective April 1.


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