Columbia police Capt. Mike Martin, executive assistant to the chief, announced Wednesday he will retire from the department to pursue a career with the Missouri State Teachers Association.
Martin said his decision to leave the department was not influenced by Chief Randy Boehm’s announcement Monday to retire July 1 to work as manager of security for MU Health Care. The decision was also not a response to the activities of the Citizen Oversight Committee, which is looking into whether the Police Department needs external review, he said.
When Martin started with the Police Department as a patrolman in 1985, Boehm “was the first face I saw,” he said. “He was instrumental in making me feel at home when I came here. It’s kind of ironic that we are leaving one day apart — that was not planned.”
He said his last day at the Police Department will be June 30, and he will begin his new job July 1 as a field representative for the teachers association. At his new job, Martin will travel to different schools in the state as a liaison between the teachers association and its members.
Both Boehm and City Manager Bill Watkins said they had known for months that Martin was looking at jobs outside of the department.
“He’s a tremendous leader,” Boehm said. “He has great integrity. I trust him completely.”
Before he was promoted to sergeant in October 1991, Martin worked as a patrol officer, field training officer and juvenile detective. In April 2000, he was promoted to captain and served as a patrol district commander, investigative commander and, since August 2005, executive assistant to the chief.
Martin heads the personnel development unit and the crisis negotiation team. He is also in command of the newly formed professional standards unit, which handles complaints against the department as well as all other internal affairs issues. The standards unit, which was created in 2007, was the department’s first overhaul of the internal affairs process in more than 20 years. Lt. John White will run the standards unit when Martin leaves.
In January, Martin was a finalist to become police chief in Davenport, Iowa. He said the possibility of becoming Columbia’s next police chief was enticing but that ultimately the stability of his new job was the right choice for him and his family.
“The decision to leave was not easy,” Martin said. “I weighed the pros and cons of becoming police chief. It would have been an attractive job to have, but there are no guarantees. This job gives (my family) security.”
Boehm said he is confident that anyone on the command level within the department would be capable of becoming the next police chief and that Martin would have been a strong candidate.
“I have no doubt he would have been seriously considered,” Boehm said. “I think the department is certainly losing a lot of experience.”
The transition from one police chief to another can lead to significant changes within the department, Martin said. He has served under four different chiefs during his career.
“Finding a new chief is a difficult time,” Martin said. “There’s going to be change, and change is going to be difficult no matter who takes over.”
Change within the Police Department could be a good thing, he said; it just depends on how you perceive it.
“Sometimes change can be exciting; it just depends on how people look at it and to embrace it,” Martin said. “If it’s an opportunity to make things positive, it could be good.”