Sheriff Replacement Will Have Plenty To Do
Turner says that's part of the reason he's stepping down...along with some recent feuds with the Gilchrist County Commission and the lack of a new jail in the immediate future. Sheriff Turner says his replacement will have his work cut out for him.
Sheriff David Turner can almost quit studying grant requests and other paperwork. After more than three decades of law enforcement--the last twelve years as sheriff--he's calling it quits.
"Being a sheriff is like a roller coaster ride," says Turner. "It's got a lot of ups and downs, a lot of peaks and valleys."
His favorite peak brings tears to his eyes--safely returning Jessica Rodriguez to her family several days after the 10-year-old was kidnapped back in 2000.
"The next morning after I got her back, I went up to her house and she came running out," says Turner. "She gave me a big hug and looked up at me with the big brown eyes and said, 'Thank you. I love you.' That's what this is all about."
But more recently, there have been a lot more valleys. Because of budget constraints, the Gilchrist County Commission has held off building a new jail that Turner says is long overdue.
"Perhaps I've given a false sense of security to the commission that we've managed to keep the jail open and we've been fortunate that we haven't had a lawsuit," says Turner.
Turner says the new sheriff is going to need better communication skills to get the jail built. Other headaches will come from keeping the schools safe even while losing one of their two school resource officers... as well as dealing with an increasing number of sexual offenders. All issues that he's thankful he can leave behind for his replacement.
"If you have the resources, you have to communicate, with the people that are out here and you have the knowledge of the laws," says Turner. "That will enable you to do the right thing for the right reason."
Sheriff Turner is looking forward to spending more time with his wife and two adult children in his farm in Gilchrist County.
He is not giving an official endorsement to any of the eight men vying to replace him. Tuesday, we'll meet them.
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