COVINGTON, Ga. - After 45 years on the force, Covington Assistant Police Chief Almond Turner is hanging up his badge.
Turner joined the department at a time where black officers usually patrolled black neighborhoods and white officers patrolled the white ones.
Turner said his last goodbyes hanging up his badge after 45 years on the force this week.
“I have shed a lot of tears because those have been tears of joy because I really love the men and women of this department,” said Turner.
Turner was 22 years old when he vowed to serve and protect the citizens of Covington. That was in 1972 at a time when segregation still existed.
“The black officers, we mainly patrolled zones three and four, which are the black neighborhoods,” said Turner.
Turner said that’s just the way it was. He also kept one of his first paychecks for those first few weeks on the job.
“I made like $125 for 45 hours of work, after taxes, I think it was like $95 I brought home because they had to deduct $15 for my weapon,” said Turner.
Back then officers bought their guns. Over the decades, time has changed. In the mid-70s, officers began patrolling all neighborhoods. Turner was put in charge of community relations and he said there was a much different attitude towards officers.
“Most of the time, if there was any confrontation with someone you were attempting to arrest, normally it was a verbal argument or scuffle and the next day they were really apologetic saying ‘I had too much to drink, I didn’t hurt you did I?’” Turner recalled.
Turner said he had a successful career because he treated people the way he wanted to be treated and remembered something his mother always told him.
“She always told us ‘Do not allow other people’s ignorance to dictate what you do in life based on the color of your skin.’ And she also said ‘make sure you don’t allow people, what they say or do to you, make you respond in a way, and you respond in a way to bring you down to their level,’” said Turner.