Assistant chief named

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 25, 2004

Jimmy Martin had been Assistant Selma Police Chief only a few days when he suddenly found himself in the midst of tense situation.

On Dec. 18, two fugitives from Meridian, Miss. barricaded themselves in a house on Union Street and engaged in a six-hour standoff with police and an Alabama State Troopers S.W.A.T. team.

“I had to make quick decisions in order to protect citizens,” Martin said.

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Martin established a mobile command post at the scene and worked with officers to end the situation without incident.

This action, combined with a long history of other accomplishments during his 14-year tenure as a police officer, made Interim Police Chief Bobby Jacobs realize that Martin was the perfect choice for the job of assistant chief.

“Knowing his capabilities and training, I had no problem going back to sleep once Martin was in charge because I knew the next call would be that everything was all clear,” Jacobs said.

Martin, who was appointed assistant chief by Mayor James Perkins on Dec. 13, said he took pride in the fact that Jacobs put him in charge of the situation.

“I felt real comfortable and real good knowing that the Interim Chief of Police left it in my hands,” Martin said.

Being able to remain calm in tense situations is a skill Martin developed after years of experience as an U.S. Army soldier and law enforcement officer.

After retiring from the military, Martin moved to Selma in the late 1980s to work as an undercover officer with the Fourth Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force.

He later worked as an undercover officer in the SPD narcotics unit, served on the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms task force, worked with the SPD internal affairs unit and was named field supervisor to the homicide/special investigations unit.

In his spare time, Martin also managed to become an ordained minister.

“I find that being a police officer and a minister runs hand-in-hand with my ministry,” Martin said. “Being a minister helps me being able to relate to people and what they are going through.”

He added that one of his goals as assistant chief is to reassure citizens that they can expect “quality law enforcement.”

“I feel a lot can be accomplished,” he said. “I want to reassure the citizens of Selma that they have something they can depend on.”

As the new assistant chief, part of Martin’s duties include daily meetings with Jacobs to discuss recent criminal activities and decide how the department can best use its resources to solve cases.

Jacobs said he is thrilled to have such a highly qualified officer by his side.

“(Martin) has an ability to relate to people,” Jacobs said. “His want is to help the public.”