MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - It’s the passing of the torch in the Madison County Sheriff’s Office as longtime Sheriff Blake Dorning retires and Sheriff-Elect Kevin Turner takes over.
Dorning and Turner are friends and longtime law enforcement colleagues. They’ve bonded during the transition as Dorning hands over the reins to Turner and the agency’s next chapter begins.
“We’ve known each other for years and years. But just being in the office together, it’s taken our friendship to a whole new level,” Dorning said.
As Dorning marks his retirement, Turner will fill his shoes and he’s been learning from Dorning over the past several months.
"It allowed me to get ahead of the learning curve to find out the things that I did know know about the department and the operational part of the department. Sheriff Dorning has opened his doors to me and I've been able to share office with him and get personal insight on what he's had to deal with over the years," Turner said. "It's been phenomenal and I couldn't ask for a better transition and how well he's treated me in this process."
Turner is a 26-year law enforcement veteran who began his career with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office. He later moved up the ranks in the department before transitioning to the District Attorney’s Office as narcotics agent/gang investigator with the North East Alabama Regional Drug Task Force. He served as chief investigator for the Madison County District Attorney’s Office for 10 years.
"I'm looking forward to settling in and doing the job itself, working with the men and women of this department. I'm looking forward to working with them and just moving forward with the department," Turner stated.
Dorning said it was important for him to mentor Turner because he received the same helpful treatment from Sheriff Joe Whisante when he took office.
"It should be an example that we're trying to set here in this county for a smooth transition that other counties might learn that this is the way you do it! Kevin has come in and he's done really, really well," Dorning added. "When you're elected to a public office and you're leaving that office, it should be that person's responsibility to maintain the integrity of the agency."
So what was Dorning’s biggest piece of advice to Turner as he leads the agency, with a staff of 400?
“Just be yourself. Remember who you serve,” Dorning said. “We have really good men and women that do what’s sometimes a thankless and dangerous job, but it’s very honorable and very rewarding.”
Sheriff-Elect Turner will be sworn in Monday morning at the Madison County Courthouse.
"To come in and work with this department is an absolutely humbling experience," Turner stated.
“Kevin is going to come in and do the very best job he can for the citizens of Madison County and what more could you ask for," Dorning added.