Portland Police Officer Jeremy Turner has once again given his spin to a Christmas classic to spread joy this holiday season. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

PORTLAND — Two years after an impromptu performance of “O Holy Night” in Tommy’s Park that went viral, Officer Jeremy Turner was back this year adding his touch to another Christmas classic: “The 12 Days of Christmas.”

Turner’s version, however, replaces turtledoves with OUIs, calling birds with barking dogs, geese-a-laying with traffic tickets and ladies dancing with crashes pending.

Jeremy Turner’s version of “The 12 Days of Christmas” replaces the traditional lyrics with “gifts” a police officer encounters on the job. Courtesy / Portland Police Department

“I had heard rewritten versions of ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’ before about various things; I thought why not do a police one,” he said.

Turner is not just a police officer who can sing. He earned a degree in music performance with a concentration in jazz from the University of Southern Maine in 2013.

Turner, who started singing at the age of 6, sought a job after college in the music industry, but he was also drawn to law enforcement, a tradition that runs in his family. His cousin, Jessica Googins, is a detective with the Portland Police Department, her father, Turner’s uncle, Ed Googins, is retiring as South Portland Police chief after 25 years in the position and close top 50 in law enforcement. Another of his uncles, John Kilbride, is police chief in Falmouth.

Turner joined the department as a police officer three years ago after working for a time as a dispatcher.

He was first able to combine his two passions in 2016, when he was chosen to sing the national anthem at his police academy graduation ceremony.

Turner sees his “Twelve Days of Christmas” as a means of spreading some Christmas joy and “a great way to reach out to the community.”

“We are human and have passions and things we care about. We are not just about this job,” he said. “Being able to connect with people in the community and bring a little happiness to people while I am doing my job, it is a great opportunity to do that.”

Turner said so far his performance has garnered a positive reaction from the public and those he works with. Since it was posted on the police department’s Facebook page Dec. 14, a video of Turner singing has generated close to 200 comments, 1,800 reactions and 2,700 shares, as well as some ribbing from his fellow officers.

“As the son of a musician, I not only appreciate Officer Turner’s talents, I applaud his and our other officers’ creative ways of continually conducting outreach in our community, engaging and building trust with the people we serve,” said Portland Police Chief Frank Clark. “These traits are at the heart of community policing, and demonstrate exactly who we are as an agency.”

Aside from Turner’s musical performance, Clark said officers have been in the Christmas spirit by spending time last week working with the Trauma Intervention Program “to provide gifts and holiday cheer” to community members.

“Actions such as these, during the holidays and throughout the year, can make us more approachable; it allows our community to see us as people, just like them, not simply a uniform and a badge,” Clark said. “I’m proud of the work our officers do, and thank them for choosing to serve and work nights, weekends and throughout the holidays to serve and protect our city.

Turner said he is working on rewriting the lyrics to “Blue Christmas” and hopes to have it ready to premiere next Christmas.

 

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