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Bellevue's Wayne Turner is Kentucky Police Chief of the Year

Bellevue Police Chief Wayne Turner is the Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police (KACP) Chief of the Year.

Turner, who grew up in Independence and lives in Ft. Thomas, received the honor at the organization's annual conference in Paducah last month

"I am honored and humbled to receive this award from my fellow chiefs and all the members of the KACP," said Turner, who has worked in law enforcement for 32 years. "I am proud to represent the people and interests of law enforcement in Frankfort and throughout the Commonwealth. There are so many of my fellow chiefs who are deserving of this award, so I am eternally grateful for being bestowed with this high honor."

KACP Executive Director Jim Pendergraff said Chief Turner has been extremely successful chairing the KACP Legislative Committee, where he represented the interests of law enforcement across the Commonwealth.

"In just a few short years, Chief Turner has proven to be a respected, knowledgeable, focused and successful lobbyist, often testifying before legislative committees in Frankfort on a variety of bills, including KLEFPF, proposed changes to the pension system, criminal justice reform and personnel issues," Pendergraff said. "He has become the 'go to' voice of law enforcement when groups such as The Kentucky League of Cities, The Kentucky Association of Counties and others need information, leadership or support when meeting with legislators or officials from the Governor’s office, including Justice Secretary John Tilley."

During the 2016 legislative session, he worked with other organizations – including the Kentucky Sheriff’s Association and the Kentucky Fraternal Order of Police – on securing the $4,000 KLEFPF annual training stipend for law enforcement officers, which statewide amounted to more than $60 million dollars.

Chief Turner also worked to pass the “rehire bill”, which allows city police departments to rehire retired law enforcement officers.

"The bill not only helped save cities money but also put experienced officers back on the street," Pendergraff said.

During the 2017 legislative session, Chief Turner was instrumental in the passage of bills dealing with criminal justice reform; stronger penalties for trafficking any amount of heroin, fentanyl, carfentanyl and fentanyl derivatives that are destroying Kentucky lives and families; and the Blue Lives Matter bill, which allows attacks on law enforcement as well as fire fighters and EMTs to be considered a hate crime.

Chief Turner also served more than 24 years in the United States Army and Marine Corps, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and serving under General David Petraeus in Iraq. Turner is a combat veteran who was awarded a bronze star for his actions in Iraq. In 2017, Turner was inducted into the Kentucky Veterans Hall of Fame culminating in a formal ceremony at the Capitol rotunda in Frankfort.

He was honored for his leadership earlier this year by the Northern Kentucky Police Chiefs Association.

"Whether he is on the streets protecting the residents of his Northern Kentucky community, on the battlefields of the Middle East defending his country or in the State Capitol looking out for the interests of law enforcement and public safety, Chief Turner is a true public servant who deserves our praise, support and above all our respect," Pendergraff said.

-Staff report

Photo: Chief Wayne Turner addresses the Campbell Co. Fiscal Court earlier this year (RCN file)