Orlando police officer suspended after arresting children

News 6 requests Dennis Turner's personnel file, employment history

Orlando police Chief states policy was not followed in the arrest of two minors by a school resource officer.

ORLANDO, Fla. – An Orlando police officer has been suspended pending an investigation after he arrested an 8-year-old and a 6-year-old Thursday.

[UPDATE: Orlando police now say both arrested children are 6 years old]

News 6 is asking Orlando police to release the results of their internal investigation after Officer Dennis Turner arrested a 6-year-old and an 8-year-old on what they say are unrelated misdemeanor charges last Thursday.

Turner has been assigned to the Reserve Officer Program, and his duties have been suspended pending the outcome of an internal investigation, Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon
told News 6.

Police told News 6 that, per policy, if kids are under 12 years old, the officer first must get approval from a watch commander to arrest them -- and in last week's case, investigators say that did not happen.

"The first transport officer was not aware an approval was not obtained, and the 8-year-old was processed through the Juvenile Assessment Center. The child was released to a family member a short time later," Rolon said.

According to officials the second transport officer verified that approval was not obtained and the process for the 6-year-old was stopped immediately.

The child was returned to the school before being processed at the Juvenile Assessment Center.

A grandmother speaks after her 6 year old grand daughter was arrested by a school rescource officer.

"The Orlando Police Department has a policy that addresses the arrest of a minor, and our initial finding shows the policy was not followed. As a grandparent of three children less than 11 years old, this is very concerning to me. Our department strives to deliver professional and courteous service. My staff and I are committed to exceeding those standards and expectations," Rolon said.

News 6 spoke with Meralyn Kirkland, who is 6-year-old Kaia Rolle's grandmother.

"No 6-year-old child should be able to tell somebody that they had handcuffs on them,"
Kirkland told News 6.

Kirkland said her granddaughter is a first grader at Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy -- but she ended up Friday at the juvenile detention center.

Kirkland received a call Thursday saying little Kaia was arrested by the school's resource officer.

"I said, 'What do you mean, she was arrested?' They say there was an incident and she kicked somebody and she's being charged and she's on her way,"
Kirkland said.

Kirkland said Kaia was acting out in class, a side effect due to a lack of sleep because of a medical condition.

"He says, 'What medical condition?' 'She has a sleep disorder, sleep apnea,' and he says, 'Well, I have sleep apnea, and I don't behave like that,'"
Kirkland added.

Kirkland believes things should have never gone this far involving her granddaughter, who she says loves pink and playing with her family.

As for the 8-year-old, that child was also taken to the Juvenile Detention Center and released to family a short time later.

News 6 has requested a copy of Turner's personnel file and more about his employment history.

About the Author:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.