Police officers are heroes. What they do on a daily basis – risking their lives to make us all safer – is all too often taken for granted. I love it when I hear a positive story to share about a police officer who is great at his job. It’s even better when it can be celebrated locally. In today’s society, news stories put so much emphasis placed on people doing bad things, breaking the law, or abusing their authority in some way. That’s why I don’t think we can tell the story of Abilene native Ryan Turner enough.

Turner, an Abilene High and Hardin-Simmons graduate, was named Police Officer of the Year by the Irving Police Department. He has some impressive highlights over his career as a law enforcement officer, including playing a big role in breaking up a bank robbery last year. But it appears to me that Officer Turner was given this honor because of the consistently terrific job he has done. He is a not only a hero, but also a role model.

As I read the KTXS News story about Ryan Turner and the recognition he received, I couldn’t help but notice key words and phrases Lieutenant Dennis Norton said to describe the job he does. “Consistently working his beat”, “thorough knowledge of his assigned area”, “observant and knows what action to take”, and “volunteering on a regular basis” for their Crime Reduction Initiative Program. Glowing words, not from a friend, or a coworker, or someone whose life Turner saved. These are words from his boss, who likely demands excellence from everyone under him.

The statements from Lt. Norton are all things that any of us would love to hear from our superiors, and that bosses would love to be able to say about employees. I’m really glad that they are being spoken about a local man whose job is so demanding and thankless, yet synonymous with “hero”.

Congratulations, Officer Turner. You have done your family, Abilene High, HSU, Irving, and police across the country proud.

We need more Ryan Turner stories like this in our lives. Do you know of another Abilene or West Texas native who deserves recognition?