The Madison County Sheriff-Elect Kevin Turner took the Oath of Office Monday morning.
Turner is the former chief investigator in the Madison County District Attorney's Office and served 18 years as the head of the gang task force. He said the department is set to hire ten more deputies in March, which would bring their total number of deputies to around 130.
The swearing in ceremony was held in Judge Karen Hall’s courtroom at the Madison County Courthouse.
Sheriff Kevin Turner said after 20 months of campaigning he's ready to get to work. He shared a message to his deputies as he starts his first day on the job.
"Do the right thing. We are all held at a different standard. When you put that badge on, you are held at a different standard. Moreso than the regular public," said Turner.
Turner said he's already been working part-time at the sheriff's office for the past 2 months learning the ropes from Sheriff Blake Dorning. He hopes for a smooth transition after spending the last 22 years as an investigator with the district attorney's office.
"Sometimes destiny dictates that you're going to move on, and you're going to run a department that is an entire sheriff's department in a huge county, and he is the man for the job," said Madison County District Attorney Rob Broussard.
Turner doesn't only come with a close relationship with the District Attorney's office. He's also hired two Huntsville Police officers to be a part of his command staff.
"The rapport that we have coming into the department by being able to reach out and being able to work with everyone, it's going to help with solving crime, and with better training. It's a win-win situation," said Turner.
The man who hired him as a sheriff's deputy back in 1992 was also there to see him be sworn in and said he thinks Turner is ready. He shared his few words of advice.
"Be yourself and be honest. Treat everyone the same, and I think he will do good," said Sheriff Joe Patterson.
Turner said he will focus on stopping violent crime and the opioid crisis.
"We can all do better in fighting the drug problem. Part of my 20 years of working the streets was gangs and drugs and that nature, and that's one of the expertise I do bring to the table," Turner said.
He also said he's aware of pending lawsuits against the sheriff's office for sexual harassment and discrimination, both which he says won't be tolerated during his time as sheriff.
"I don't know all details on the lawsuits that are pending, but going forward if someone violates or commits that type of act, we are going to address, discipline the situation and move forward," he said.
Below is a statement from retiring Madison County Sheriff Blake Dorning:
"Dear Citizens of Madison County, It is with great honor and pride that I announce that after 35 years of service, I am retiring from The Office of Sheriff of Madison County effective Monday, January 14, I would like to thank the citizens of Madison County for their support throughout my 35 year career. I am very proud of the many changes and improvements that we have made during the past 16 years.
Working together with our supervisors, deputies and support staff employees, we have modernized the operation of the Sheriff’s Office and molded it into an efficient and effective law enforcement agency that services for the protection of our citizens. I began
my law enforcement career in 1983 with the Madison County Sheriff’s Department and was elected by the citizens as Sheriff in November 2002. I have been fortunate to have had so many opportunities during my career. I have given back to my community and to the profession I love to the best of my ability. I must say a special thank you to the employees of the Madison County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office is blessed to have employees who serve, due to their dedication and compassion for our citizens. I am
very proud of them and pray for their safety daily. Each and every one of them has been a great contributor to the success that has occurred over those 16 years. There are many many talented men and women who serve under the Office of Sheriff. I especially
thank my family for their continued support and love. Finally, let me thank my Lord who has granted me the wisdom and health to be a public servant all these years and who has provided and discernment in decision making throughout my career. All good things
have come from the Father who has guided and protected me. In the Bible, 2 Timothy 4:7 says, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” and Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “And in to everything there is a season, and a time to every
purpose under the heaven.” I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith, and now this is the season and the time for my retirement. To you, the citizens of Madison County, I say “Thank You” Sheriff Blake Dorning"