John: I knew when I was a junior in high school that I wanted to go into law enforcement but I was short in size when then most police officers were at least 6 feet tall. Then I was given a unique opportunity. I lived in a newly formed city that was creating its own police dept. The new chief asked for volunteers so I jumped at the chance to be a volunteer dispatcher which led to a scholarship in Police Science which led to becoming a deputy sheriff immediately after graduation. I never thought that I would eventually become a Chief of Police.
CJSO: What are the biggest challenges in the field?
John: One of the most significant challenges facing law enforcement is to stay current with the changes in law. We are undergoing a major change in case law reminicent of the 60′s and lacking direct guidance as to how law enforcement is expected to accomplish its mission. Another challenge is keeping up with technology which has greatly assisted law enforcement.
CJSO: In general, are there any specific traits that work well in criminal justice?
John: If you’re the kind of person that can remain cool and calm under extreme conditions, have the patience of Job, the diplomacy of Lincoln and wisdom of Soloman, then criminal justice might be the career for you.
CJSO: What are some of the common misconceptions about the field?
John: Police work is not about driving fast or shooting guns although there is a small fraction of time when that is required. Police work is about problem solving and helping others to understand our criminal justice system. Most of what we do is interacting with the public on a whole host of issues, providing information and being an official ambassador for the agency you represent.
CJSO: Do you have any parting advice for prospective criminal justice students?
John: If this is a career you would like to pursue stay clear of drugs, obey the law, stay or get in shape, and remember that your most important asset is your personal integrity
John Turner has been in the Criminal Justice field for over 20 years. In those twenty years, he has served his community in a variety of ways. He is a former police officer and chief of police. He has served as the chief criminal investigator for the Washington State Attorney General and has worked with Homeland Security. In 2009, he received a reappointment by Governor Gregoire to the Clemency and Pardons Board. He has been honored with the National Crime Prevention Council Award for Excellence awarded by the National Press Club and was a Finalist for the Community Policing Award given by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
He is currently teaching Introduction to Terrorism at the Everest College Everett Campus.