Heflin K9 officer receives national awards
May 10, 2017
By Bill Wilson
The Anniston Star


Heflin police K9 officer Danny Turner won two national awards last week, one of which wouldn’t have been possible without the help of his partner: an 85-pound Belgian Malinois dog named Jedi. 

Turner received the awards at the National Criminal Enforcement Association’s (NCEA) annual awards last week in Philadelphia, Pa.
One award was for the most stolen guns seized in the U.S. and Canada, and the other was for the largest bust of the mood-altering drug “Molly” in the US and Canada.

“It’s nice for people to do the same thing I do to give you a pat on the back. It means a lot coming from people that walk in the same footsteps as you do,” Turner said on Tuesday.

Turner and Jedi have been taking drugs off Heflin streets for the last four years.

Turner, a Ranburne native in his 40s, has been in law enforcement his whole working life and has always loved dogs.

“I’ve been around dogs my whole life, my family had a couple of dogs all the time around the house,” Turner said.

During Turner’s first job at the Newnan, Ga., police department in 1997 he said a dog handler pulled up and started telling him how police dogs work. The dog handler offered to perform a “free air sniff of my patrol car” said Turner.

The dog alerted to something on the patrol car door and the handler said to Turner: “The guy you brought in, do you think he might have dropped something?”

After searching and removing the bottom of the back seat they let the dog in the patrol car, where he promptly alerted to something around the seat.

“We reached up there behind the seat and someone unbeknown to us, at a previous time, had stuffed a little bit of marijuana up under the backing of the seat,” Turner said.

The ability of the dog to discover narcotics intrigued Turner.

“I purchased a dog, I trained with a dog,  I’ve had a dog pretty much ever since after my rookie year of being on the road,” Turner said.

“What a dog can do compared to what we can do? There’s no comparison. Their abilities far outreach ours, they are not biased,” Turner said.

In Turner’s office photos of Jedi and the other dogs he has worked with over the years adorn the walls. Turner said Jedi must be recertified every year for narcotics detection.  The certification is not just for Jedi but also for Turner. The two must work together as a team.

Every time Jedi discovers narcotics, Turner gives him his favorite toy, a red plastic chew attached to a piece of blue webbing. That’s because when Jedi is searching for narcotics he does not realize that he is finding cocaine or marijuana, he is searching for his toy.  

“That is his go-to thing and he flips out for it, there is nothing like it, that is his favorite toy by all means, he acts crazy over it,” Turner said.

“He thinks his toy smells like weed, cocaine. All you are telling him is go find your toy,” Turner said.

Jedi’s latest big seizure was finding  $216,000 of drug money in hidden in the cab of an 18-wheeler last month on I-20. Jedi had detected the presence of drugs near the rear of the cab where the drug money was discovered hidden behind the wall.

Jedi stays with Turner all the time and he loves to play with the man’s three girls, ages 3, 6 and 9.

“I love my dogs,” Turner said.