Chief Martin to Retire

Sports Editor, Interim EIC

After over 20 years serving as Piedmont’s chief of police, Dick Martin has decided to retire.
With a 90-year-old mother in Michigan, Martin decided that he wants the opportunity to travel to take care of her if anything were to happen.

“I plan on continuing to work here. I just want the flexibility of not being the chief,” said Martin.
As of right now, he is not sure when exactly he is retiring. He has a contract with Piedmont until July 1, but he is not sure if Piedmont would like to make the transition before or after that date.

Before his start at Piedmont, the now 68-year-old Vietnam veteran lived with his wife in the Keys off the coast of Florida. They owned and ran their own hotel, but when they began a family, children didn’t exactly fit into the lifestyle of the hotel business or the lifestyle of the Keys.
He said the Keys were more of a party place than a raise-a-family place. So Martin and his wife sold the hotel, and they moved up to northeast Georgia.
It was a sort of halfway mark between his wife’s family and his family.
“I never intended to get into police work,” said Martin.

When Martin arrived in Georgia, he really didn’t have a plan of where he was going to work. He saw an opening at a sewage treatment plant and applied, but they had already filled the position. However, there was an opening in the Clarkesville police department. Originally, he was not interested, but the city manager called him every week for three months. During the last phone call, the city manager offered a deal that he would never bother Martin again if he helped the police department for one weekend.
Tired of the incessant phone calls, Martin agreed. That weekend Martin decided to become a Clarkesville police officer.

“It was something I had never done before,” he said.
He eventually made his way up the ranks and became the chief of police in Clarkesville. This is where he started his idea of community policemen.

He urged his officers to help out in the community in order prevent crime. He involved the department in the D.A.R.E. program and partners in education, and even won the award of law related educator of the year. This involvement eventually led him to be elected onto the Habersham county school board.
“I really wasn’t about writing tickets. I was about being involved in the community,” said Martin.
He said he believes that his position at Piedmont fits him best because it emphasizes getting involved. Being at Piedmont, he doesn’t have to deal with the politics that he had to deal with working for the city. There are fewer turnovers of leadership at Piedmont than in a city.

After leaving Clarkesville’s police department, he spent most of his time working on the D.A.R.E. program and working part-time for Cornelia’s police department. Then Piedmont made its entrance into his life.
A friend of his had recommended him to someone at Piedmont who was looking for security to combat a problem the school was having. Computers were first arriving at Piedmont, and the school was having trouble with people stealing computers and televisions. The school eventually hired him as security in the evenings to watch the buildings. Martin was surprised to find that at that time, a student locked all the buildings.
“I remember one night. They must have gotten a shipment of computers, and there were like 30 computers just sitting at the back door of Daniel Hall, and at 2 o’clock in the morning, the door was still unlocked,” said Martin.

Eventually, Piedmont invited him to a meeting and asked him to help them start a program for the safety and security of Piedmont. Martin agreed, but he suggested they make it an official police department.
“At the time, police forces didn’t have a lot of respect for security,” said Martin.
The development of the new program took about a year, but after filling all the necessary requirements, Piedmont had their own police department. Since then, he has served as the police chief.
“It was just me at the beginning,” said Martin.

Soon, the department grew, and Piedmont hired on Bruce Irvin. Irvin explained that he is sad to see Martin retire.
“He [Martin] has been here since I’ve been here, and he’s been good to me,” said Irvin.
But Martin hopes to continue working for Piedmont. He plans on helping the new chief settle into the new position to prevent he or she from “re-inventing the wheel.”
He believes he has a lot to offer the new chief, mainly his knowledge of the key system.
“We didn’t have a system until they turned it over to me,” said Martin.
He is the only one who knows the system and said he believes that it could drive a new chief crazy if he was to just drop the system on him or her.
But who is the new chief going to be?

Martin reports to Dean of the Walker School of Business John Misner, so Martin believes that President Mellichamp, Vice President of Academic Affairs Perry Rettig and Misner will collectively make the decision.
“We are making plans to make a smooth transition from one to the other,” said Martin.
Right now, they know they need to send an officer to chief school to prepare them for the position, but they have not decided who to send quite yet.
“I think we are going in a great direction,” said Martin.