Today we are going to be talking to Dr. Timothy Turner. As terrorist activity and violent crimes increase, our police and law enforcement, including Special Forces, Special Operators like SWAT and FBI, are basically under even increasing scrutiny to perform under pressure.
Today’s show will feature an engaging conversation with former FBI Special Agent, Personal and Professional Development Consultant, Timothy Turner. He is the Dean of the School at Anderson University in South Carolina. He has been in the Criminal Justice department there for some time. He has an extensive background in consulting, mostly in law enforcement and the public sector.
He’s going to talk to us today about his favorite passion which is leadership development and emotional intelligence.
For those of you that may recognize the name, if you are an avid reader on emotional intelligence, many of you have read the book The EQ Edge by Steven Stein. In that book is an endorsement by FBI Professional at the time, Dr. Timothy Turner.
Dr. Turner is the CEO for Inspirational Leadership. We’ll learn more about his consulting company. It’s a leadership and personal development organization working with public sector agencies and private enterprises developing multidisciplinary projects and leadership training.
His work includes audiences at the US State Department’s Anti-Terrorism training programs, conducting criminal justice training programs throughout the world as well.
Dr. Turner retired as an SSA, Special Supervisory Agent in Charge, after serving 22 years with the FBI. He was an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia and National Academy and the University of Virginia Northern Center.
Dr. Turner worked with Homeland Security and he has worked with many other agencies which I’m sure he’ll talk to us about today. He was responsible for the oversight of a variety of training and operational programs, including crisis coordinator, hostage negotiator, aviation coordinator as well as serving as a primary relief supervisor.
He has been a training director, a security director, and investigative specialist and a curriculum developer. Prior to his assignment at FBI headquarters, Dr. Turner was the original case agent for Major Case 98, which was the primary terrorism case in the United States at the time. I’m sure he’ll tell us what he can about some of the cases.
As you know, a lot of what we are exposed to in the public, certain things can and cannot be discussed in public. We’ll certainly ask him what he can discuss.
He has worked on many, many cases, some that are operationally well-known, which included the cases of John Gotti and Robert Hansen. The Talladega Prison Riots, the Los Angeles riots, and he was a negotiator and pilot for the Waco standoff. I’m sure he’ll tell us much more about why emotional intelligence is so important in all of these various roles that law enforcement plays.
Dr. Turner earned a BS degree in education from Baylor University, a Masters of education from Miss State and administration at the University of Virginia in Social Foundations in Psychology, and an MS in Criminal Justice from Columbia Southern University. He certainly has made the University rounds between Baylor, Mississippi, Columbia and Virginia.
He also attended the University of Nebraska School of Law. Dr. Turner completed his Ed.D. in Leadership from the University of Virginia, as I said, in his research efforts. He focused on the use of emotional intelligence for succession planning as well as law enforcement.
Let me welcome my new friend and a wonderful colleague who I’m honored a friend, welcome to the show Tim, how are you?
Dr. Timothy Turner: I’m fine Cathy. How are you?
Dr. Cathy Greenberg: I’m good. Each and every show we love to start off with this question and it’s something that’s easy for all of our guests to jump into because we are going to talk about some difficult subjects including how leadership development impacts law enforcement as you and I are both working in that industry, I’m sure we are going to have a wonderful dialog.
Let’s start off by asking you, who has been, in your own estimation, the most influential person in your professional life?
Dr. Timothy Turner: Thinking about that very quickly, I would say the Bible has influenced me the most in my professional career. There’s a verse as we give out awards to our students that have done outstanding work, it’s the Bible verse John 15:13, that says “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
Both as a military person and as a law enforcement officer, that has been the mantra of my life. I think it’s important that we serve and protect those around us, that we can.
Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Well, I am in awe, but I cannot say that I’m surprised. You are a very surprising man in many, many ways. For those of you who are listening, I’m not intending to embarrass Tim here, in a public forum, but Tim is a star in the law enforcement and FBI community. I heard about Tim long before I got to meet him, just a short time ago when were at the National Sheriff’s Academy. It amazes me that a person like yourself and others can give of themselves not only lovingly but courageously and fearlessly within that context, John 15:13, that whole servant / protect. We see it on the side of cars that law enforcement drive, we see it in the mission statements that they post in their buildings and often we forget that you and many others serve us every day in a theater of war that is here on our home front and it’s certainly an honor to have you with us.
When you think about your career, tell us a little bit about you and your background, and how you became an FBI agent.
Dr. Timothy Turner: Well, I like to tell a story that when I was a little boy that I watched a TV series called the Lone Ranger. This guy would go out and risk his life and he would do it without any notoriety or any fanfare and that he would have a silver bullet when he would come to the rescue and take charge. I always thought that was always a great ambition to be able to go out and help and protect people.
Even in my early career, I carried two silver bullets. I never left one with anybody but I always carried them as a reminder to try and do the right thing. It was always in the back of my mind that you have a social responsibility to help and protect others if God has given you the ability to do so.
That has always been my mission; to protect those that need to be protected.
Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Well, I have to tell you that you are touching my soul in so many ways and I’m sure the hearts and minds of our listeners.
Tell us about how that little boy grew up became a servant and protector of all of us.
Dr. Timothy Turner: Well, I always had this desire to fly and so I was able to join the US Army and became a helicopter pilot. I flew in Vietnam; I flew helicopter gunships. I don’t think there is anything more exciting than flying a couple hundred knots over the trees and protecting other people in doing so. That was fun, I enjoyed that.
I got out, got my degree from Baylor University and I liked the flying so much that I decided to go into the Navy. I was able to get my gold wings from the United States Navy and they are the ones that gave me my fixed-wing training. Little did I know that my helicopter and fixed-wing flying would come into play when I became an FBI agent. I became a surveillance expert for the FBI.
Just prior to joining the FBI I was going to law school, but while going to law school I was a company commander for the Nebraska National Guard, which I love the National Guard and those that are in the Guard that spends their weekend every month and two weeks a year to support their states and civilians in their communities. I applaud them and I thank them for what they do because I think it’s wonderful.
The flying part got me into the Bureau as a surveillance expert and that is how I got involved with so many good cases, such as the John Gotti case and Robert Hansen case.
You can listen to the complete interview above.