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Lt. Martinez named Officer of the Year in Lanett by his peers at council meeting

LANETT — An officer with the Chambers County Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force has been honored by his city and peers as the 2018 Officer of the Year in Lanett.

This past Monday at the Lanett City Council, Lt. Lancer Martinez was honored and given a plaque by Lanett Police Chief Johnny Wood for his work this past year.

“Lt. Martinez has been an astronomical, professional and productive member of the multi-jurisdictional drug task force and its combined success and has consistently placed emphasis on the apprehension of criminals and deterrents of criminal activity,” Wood said Monday about Martinez.

According to Wood, Martinez conducted 74 investigations as part of the task force, including operations in manufacturing, trafficking, distribution and the possession of controlled substances. During that time, Wood said Martinez made 99 arrests, seized two vehicles and recovered more than $11,000 in U.S. currency.

“Lt. Martinez executes his duties with professionalism and exemplarily honor and discipline in his actions and interactions with the public,” Wood said Monday before handing Martinez his plaque.

Martinez said Thursday he appreciates the honor, but he’s able to be successful because of the group of people in his squad.

“The guys I work with and the successes we’ve had are greatly due to them and their assistance,” Martinez said.

Wood said Martinez has been with the department for about 12 years, starting as a police officer, being promoted to sergeant, then lieutenant and even a K9 officer for several years.

Martinez is Lanett’s representative on the drug task force, after taking Wood’s place in September 2017. Since he’s been on the staff, the task force has gone statewide and has been absorbed by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. That means the task force is now involved in investigations all throughout the state, not just Chambers County.

“His integrity and honesty have never been in question. He has always been very helpful,” Wood said.

According to Wood, before coming to the Lanett Police Department, Martinez worked at Kroger and got a reputation of catching shoplifters and detaining them until the police arrived.

“He has a good heart and believes in what he is doing,” Wood said. “He put the needs of his employees well above his own, and he has always gone the extra mile.”

Martinez said working on the task force has been rewarding. He said the majority of crimes committed can be traced back to narcotics. He recalled raids when the task force had to call the Alabama Department of Human Resources because the living conditions were so bad for the children involved.

“Narcotics is the root of a lot of the problems that we have around here,” he said.