Robert J. Turner was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. Robert went to school at St. Cecilia High School in Detroit and joined the Navy in 1942. He was assigned to the battleship USS Washington (BB-56) and commissioned to the war in the South Pacific from 1942-1945. They engaged in many battles alongside the Indiana, South Dakota, Iowa, Alabama and Minneapolis. The Washington and crew earned 13 Battle Stars and was never hit and never lost a man to the enemy.
Bob hired into the Livonia Police Department on February 18, 1952. He was a hardworking police officer who graduated from the FBI Academy and became Chief of Detectives while working nights at the Detroit Race Course. As he rose through the ranks and became an inspirational leader, he was promoted to Chief of Police on October 27, 1969 and continued in that position until December 1, 1983. Bob did a term as President of the Michigan Association of Police Chiefs from 1975-76.
The “Chief” was a policeman’s policeman and did everything he could to lead his officers with integrity and hard police work. Bob would battle with media, Mayors, Union, Treasurer, City Hall and many others to be sure his officers were getting the respect and resources to get the job done. He also was very protective of the citizens of Livonia and would have his rookie officers walking the beat in the neighborhoods to build relationships and trust with the citizens.
Bob finished his career as the Director of Public Safety until retiring on January 10, 1986. The Livonia Police Department honored Bob’s years of service by naming their office the Robert J. Turner Building. He was married to Margaret Ann and they had seven children; Kathy, Mary, Bob Jr., Rich, Laurie, Tim and Bill.