A Loudoun County sheriff’s deputy who works in the adult detention center recently won a national award as correctional officer of the year, in part for cracking cases from inside the jail.
Gloria Turin hardly fits the profile of someone walking the corridors of a jail at just 5-feet tall and 127 pounds. She never considered such a job as a child growing up in Peru.
“I did not see a female officer, police officer or female deputies, anything like that,” she said. “So, when I moved to the states, it was a huge impact on me seeing females as police officer.”
While she was drawn to law enforcement, she doubted she herself when she was recruited for the job five years ago.
We're making it easier for you to find stories that matter with our new newsletter — The 4Front. Sign up here and get news that is important for you to your inbox.
“I didn’t think I had what it takes, and it makes you realize that if you put your heart into it, you just have to work hard,” she said.
Turin says she’s learned it’s not about the physical stature but how you treat people, even those in jail awaiting trial or serving a sentence.
“It’s not what you say but how you say it,” she said. “You know, they’re human beings at the end of the day, and let me tell you, if you treat them with respect, you’re going to get the respect back.”
Northern Virginia news, events and updates
But Turin said she has also kept a close eye and ear on some of the inmates’ activities as she patrols. Overhearing phone calls, she discovered a money laundering scheme that led to a multistate FBI investigation. She also caught an inmate fraudulently changing documents to try to get out of jail.
“It’s out there,” she said. “You just have to take the time and pay attention to details and you’ll be surprised how many things you can find within here.”
“The amount of things that she’s done within this adult detention center is phenomenal, and we’re so impressed, and to get national recognition like that is really over the top, so we’re very proud of her,” Sheriff Mike Chapman said.
Turin said she’s still processing the big honor but she hopes her success story might inspire other girls and women to consider her profession.