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First Responder Spotlight: Jeromy Martin, Elizabethtown Police Department

0309_jeromy_martinJeromy Martin knows it takes courage to be a police officer and admits sometimes it can be scary going into unknown situations, but the 28-year-old West Bladen High School graduate has found the career and the department for him.

Martin is a master patrolman with the Elizabethtown Police Department. He joined the force two years ago after graduating from Bladen Community College’s basic law enforcement training course.

“I plan to be with Elizabethtown until I retire,” Martin said. “I enjoy working for this department. This is the department that I wanted to work in when I graduated from (basic law enforcement training), and I was fortunate enough to get a job here.”

Martin has made his mark within the department in a short period of time. He was named the 2014 Officer of the Year by his peers.

“I always try to go above and beyond to help anybody that I can,” Martin said, “whether it be a co-worker or somebody out on the street. I take my job very seriously. I do my job to the best of my ability. Nothing less than 100 percent is acceptable. If they need me to take a call, I’ll do it.”

Law enforcement wasn’t Martin’s career choice when he graduated from high school. He worked in construction for a while, but, with a wife and new baby daughter, he sought a profession that allowed him to spend more time at home. He had some friends in law enforcement and was able to go on some ride-alongs with Elizabethtown Police Department officers. He decided to enroll in training.

“I didn’t have anybody in my family in law enforcement other than a cousin who is the (N.C.) Highway Patrol,” Martin said. “It’s a career that’s always going to there. There’s always going to be police officers. I’ll always have a job.”

However, career stability isn’t the reason someone chooses to go into law enforcement. Martin is no different.

“I can help people,” Martin said. “The possibility of saving somebody’s life. Trying to change the community. The job comes with a lot of responsibility. You have the ability to save somebody’s life and you also have the ability to take somebody’s freedom.”

Training helps prepare potential police officers for the varied situations they may face on the streets. But, says Martin, there’s nothing like the real thing.

“You can’t take it personal,” Martin said about verbal abuse officers often hear. “You’re there to try to calm the situation down and make everything better.

“Most situations can be handled by just talking to people. Rather than getting an attitude just because they got an attitude, keep calm, talk to them and just find out what’s going on. A lot of times all they want to do is talk to somebody. A lot of times you can de-escalate the situation just by talking to them and treating them like they’re somebody rather than getting in there and making the situation worse by arguing with them.”

In spite of the stress, unusual work hours and potential for being thrust into life-threatening situations, Jeromy Martin has found the career for him. As for others?

“If somebody is thinking about going into law enforcement, they need to get with an agency that lets them do ride-alongs,” Martin said. “Go out and experience the things that happen instead of going into BLET and being blindsided.”

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