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An up close and personal interview with U.S. Police Veteran and Togetherweserved.com Member:

SGT John Martin (1985-Present)
Honolulu Police Department


WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO MAKE A CAREER IN LAW ENFORCEMENT?

Being born and raised on an island, the police of the old days were no different than other towns or cities where Officer Public knew everybody on his beat and was treated with respect and at times, held in awe. In my childhood I interacted with the Marines and Army units that conducted maneuvers and military exercises within 1-2 miles of my home. My childhood toys consisted of discarded military equipment and paraphernalia. This was to be the forerunner of my law enforcement career, or so I thought.

Three months out of the Marine Corps, Mar 70, I decided to walk into the headquarters of the Honolulu Police Department and look at my new future. I entered the main door, eyeballed the officers that were in public view and started to dissolve the law enforcement future. Short haircuts, shined shoes, etc. etc. It was out the back door and stepping into my new life. From May 74 to Jul 84, I was employed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village as the sea captain of their 72 foot/149 passenger catamaran. In 1984, a fellow employee handed me a police application and begged me to join with him. His father-in-law was a juvenile detective and he longed to served side by side. Long story short, my friend did not complete the hiring process and I did and was selected to join the 91st recruit class in Aug 85. The current graduating recruit class is now numbered 16.

WHAT WAS YOUR CAREER PATH AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW?

I have been working the streets since 1986 first as an undercover intelligence officer while still completing my probation period. This assignment played a major role in my first tour of duty in the Narcotics/Vice Division. My work ethics and determination to get the task complete with the least amount
Hawaii Drug Enforcement Agency Marijuana Eradication Team
of supervision was a major asset for me. My Coast Guard issued oceans operator's license opened the door as a narc. During this tour (6 years), I operated a fishing vessel in conjunction with US Customs Drug Interdiction Program.

I was also assigned to the Hawaii Drug Enforcement Agency Marijuana Eradication Team (4 years) becoming the rappel master and did rappelling for those 4 years statewide (Hughes 500 rotary aircraft). Being reassigned to my previous patrol division began my love for street crime (20+ years). Never a dull or bored moment as I shifted my under-covered/plainclothes experience to teaching young officers that get assigned to our watch in street smarts and street survival. Today, I continue to work the streets as a supervisor and serve the community to make all of our lives safer.

DID YOU SERVE IN THE MILITARY PRIOR? AND IF SO, IN WHAT BRANCH OF SERVICE? IN WHAT WAYS HAS MILITARY SERVICE INFLUENCED YOUR CAREER IN LAW ENFORCEMENT?
 
Semper Fi !!
United States Marine Corps, Oct 66 - Mar 70 (early-out program at that time). The life skills hammered into you in boot camp (MCRD San Diego) never ends but goes through improved changes throughout your life. Adapt and improvise. I entered my police recruit class at age 37 and turned 38 by graduation day. At age 42, I was the oldest one rappelling in our unit and in law enforcement statewide which was attributed to "NO GUTS NO GLORY".

WHICH, OF THE AGENCIES OR DEPARTMENTS YOU WERE ASSIGNED TO, DO YOU HAVE THE FONDEST MEMORIES OF AND WHY?

I have only been assigned to two divisions, Patrol and Narcotics/Vice Division. My first tour as an Narc was at the officer level and and the second as a supervisor. Being assigned to the DEA Task Force was great as it built esteem, courage and knowledge of how law enforcement agencies interact in a common cause and goal of drug interdiction. A lot of friendships were made and a lot of brave men were made.

FROM YOUR ENTIRE LAW ENFORCEMENT CAREER WHAT PARTICULAR INCIDENT HAD THE BIGGEST IMPACT ON YOU AND WHY?
 
Teamwork Pays Off for all involved
As my law enforcement career is current, I place no single incident as a impact maker. After serving in Vietnam and experiencing the negative impact it had on a friendly populace, incidents and/or impacts are not important to me. What is important and I stress that with my fellow officers and supervisors, is that no matter what impact or incident you have in your day, go home to your love ones safely.

OF THE MEDALS, AWARDS OR BADGES YOU RECEIVED, WHAT IS THE MOST MEANINGFUL TO YOU AND WHY?

1) To become a rappel master, 4 of us were trained by the US Army Rangers assigned to Schofield Barracks Hawaii. Upon completion and graduating, we all earned our "WINGS" and to this day, I wear it proudly. 2) I also attended a Combat Lifesaving course taught by the US Army Rangers and have used the skills gained in educating the younger officers.

WHICH INDIVIDUAL PERSON FROM YOUR CAREER MADE THE MOST POSITIVE INFLUENCE ON YOU AND WHY?
 
Mentoring builds Teamwork
My supervisor while I was assigned to the Narcotics/Vice Division, Marijuana Eradication Detail. Detective Sam Downey was a 19 year veteran and between August and December, he was a defensive line coach for a high school football team (won the state title for 12 straight years). Silently watching his leadership skills whether it be with the our administration, inter-agencies or his unit, his methodology, thinking and planning was beyond anyone I had encountered previously in my life. When I rotated out of the Detail back to the Patrol Division, I was ready to implement my silently acquired knowledge.

CAN YOU RECOUNT A PARTICULAR INCIDENT FROM YOUR CAREER THAT WAS FUNNY AT THE TIME AND STILL MAKES YOU LAUGH?

At 0100 hours, dispatch received a call from an elderly Asian female who said that a barefoot/bareback homeless male was at her front porch steps trying on her shoes (size 4). I arrived before three other young officers and made contact with the male. He related that his feet hurt (size 11) and he was just trying to find a pair of shoes or slippers so he could be on his way. As I continued to speak with him, I withdrew my note book and drew a picture of a stick-man. The officers arrived and stood by. I explained to the male that I was in the area looking for a possible prowler and maybe he could assist me if I showed him a picture of the prowler.

He was more than happy to help and I opened my notebook and showed him the stick-man (this was done in a serious demeanor and the officers did not know what was occurring). Upon looking at my notebook, the male (him 5-8/180 lb. and me 6-2/210) assumed a boxing stance with his clenched fists raised and declared to me, "Come on, come on, puttum up". He was jokingly doing it and I kept my serious demeanor and never wavered. He eventually calmed down and I sent him on his way. As we all started to depart the scene, one officer ran over to me and asked to see the picture in my notebook. Without breaking my demeanor, I opened it and when he looked at it, he asked, "Where did you get that picture from". Nuff said, I was laughing and trying to steer a straight road for miles.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON YOU HAVE LEARNED AS A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER?

To serve with: INTEGRITY, RESPECT, and FAIRNESS.

WHAT LAW ENFORCEMENT ASSOCIATIONS ARE YOU A MEMBER OF, IF ANY? WHAT SPECIFIC BENEFITS DO YOU DERIVE FROM YOUR MEMBERSHIP(S)?

My union, SHOPO: State of Hawaii Organization Of Police Officers. This union serves all police officers that serve in the four counties of the state; Kauai County, City and County
Treat all Fairly
of Honolulu, Maui County and Hawaii County. We all are administered under the same collective bargaining agreement.

HOW HAS SERVING AS A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER INFLUENCED THE WAY YOU CONDUCT YOUR PERSONAL LIFE AND YOUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS OUTSIDE OF THE DEPARTMENT?

Our departmental rules of conduct dictate your behavior on the job and off the job. We are police officers twenty-four hours a day and are held accountable for infractions of our Standards of Conduct.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR A ROOKIE WHO HAS JUST PUT ON THE BADGE?

Learn to serve your community with INTEGRITY, RESPECT, and FAIRNESS.

IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU FEEL THIS WEBSITE CAN BENEFIT THE LAW ENFORCEMENT COMMUNITY?
 
TWS and Law Enforcement
Whether your department is big or small, we are all brothers in a common cause. We lay our lives down for the community we serve and don't ask for anything in return. To exist and operate in this field, you need to have it in your heart! Be Safe and serve with Aloha.

 


SGT John Martin
 
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TWS VOICES
TWS Voices are the personal stories of men and women who served in the US Military and convey how serving their Country has made a positive impact on their lives. If you would like to participate in a future edition of Voices, or know someone who might be interested, please contact TWS Voices HERE.
 
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