Retiring Rexburg police chief reflects on 34 years of service
REXBURG — He has worked at the Rexburg Police Department for over three decades but on Friday, Chief Shane Turman will take off his badge, put away his bulletproof vest and call it a career.
Turman is retiring after serving the city for nearly 34 years. He was hired in August 1988 and worked his way up the ranks until then Rexburg Mayor Richard Woodland appointed him chief of police in 2010.
“It’s been an incredible career for me,” Turman tells EastIdahoNews.com. “I’m happy to step down because the department’s going to be left in good hands and I’ve accomplished everything that I ever wanted to accomplish.”
One of Turman’s most unforgettable experiences during his career happened when he had only been on the job for about a month. As a new rookie, he was riding with a sergeant when they were dispatched to a report of a suicidal man.
It was a cold night and the officers arrived at the house. Nobody answered the front door so they walked around to the side.
“The man stepped out with a seven-millimeter hunting rifle that was loaded and cocked and leveled at us. He wanted to commit suicide by cop and said, ‘I know I’m gonna get surrounded by officers. So I’ll shoot one of you, and then they’ll kill me,'” Turman recalls. “That standoff lasted about three, four hours until we could get him talked down. I remember going home and I don’t think I slept for three days I had so much adrenaline.”
Turman remembers thinking his job “was the coolest thing in the world” but believes he would have responded to the situation differently if it happened today.
“I was dumb and young. Nowadays, I would just pass out and faint,” he says with a smile.
The chief has investigated big cases over the years. None have been more time-consuming for the department than the Daybell investigation but the one he will always remember happened when a 2 1/2 month old baby was tortured and killed in 1998.
Benjamin Genther, the child’s father, was 19 years old at the time and charged with murder. He was sentenced to serve 17 years to life in prison and remains behind bars. The child’s mother, Misty Genther, was 17 years old and charged with injury to child. She has been released from prison.
“I worked on that for two straight years. I think at the time, we got the highest sentence on a shaken baby case,” Turman says.
Turman credits his religious beliefs for helping him cope with horrible cases and the support of his family has meant everything. There were days he arrived home from work and “you just throw your arms around your wife and your kids and have a little cry. But then you somebody’s got to stand up for these kids and help them.”
The biggest change Turman has witnessed over the decades is technology and how criminals use the internet to commit crimes. Child pornography has exploded but advancements have also been made in investigative tools.
Turman says he will miss his colleagues and the comradery of the department but looks forward to seeing a new chief step into the role. Lt. Joshua Rhodes has been with the department since 2010 and begins his new role as the city’s top cop on Monday.
A retirement reception will be held for the outgoing chief at the Rexburg City Hall beginning at 2 p.m. Monday, June 27. After that, Turman says he plans to tackle projects and begin a new stage of life.
“I have two years of farm stuff on my small farm that’s built up and I haven’t been able to get to it,” he explains. “My wife has a list of chores I need to take care of and I want to get some fishing in. And I think I’m also going to finish my art degree, which I was pursuing before I got this job.”