He’s in the lunches, he monitors the halls, his cruiser is parked out front, he intimidates any evil that enters this school while simultaneously smiling at students and making them feel safe and comfortable. He is our beloved resource officer, Deputy Robert Martin.
Martin is 55 years old. He has his associate’s degree from Columbus State and his bachelor’s degree from Ohio Dominican. He worked as a deputy officer for seven years and was a volunteer cop at Whitehall for 16 years. He has worked at the high school for almost five years and loves his job.
Martin begins his day at 4 a.m., to get himself and his kids ready. He first helps get his 13-year-old son ready, who has autism. Once he has done that, he wakes up his 15-year-old daughter.
“They both attend Big Walnut High School and will leave for school after me. I have tattoos of each of them on my arms,” Martin said.
Once he arrives at work, he typically tries to park his cruiser out in the front of the school, so possible intruders, or even angry parents, think twice before entering the building.
“Even if it’s just the parents and there was a misunderstanding in the morning, no kid wants to be embarrassed like that. Any dispute can be settled after school,” Martin said.
After entering the building, he will do a lap around the school and in the office to check in with staff before the kids arrive.
“When the kids are coming in, I make sure to greet them with a smile. It’s important that they know that people are here to keep them safe and help them. The media has put a dark shadow on law enforcement. Some situations that have happened are very questionable, but many powerful positive things have happened too.” Martin said.
A 2017 graduate, Preston Neff, is a great example of Martin making positive relationships with students. Neff still continues his relationship with Martin. They’ll meet up, get wings occasionally and catch up.
“He is almost like a second father to me. Whenever I need advice, I know I can go to him; he is an honest and respectable guy. He’s definitely someone I look up to, and I’m glad I have a friend like him,” Neff said.
After all the students have gone to class, Martin monitors the halls. He spends most of his time monitoring the first floor because it’s large and where any intruder would first enter.
Martin said he’ll do whatever he can to make sure that no parent will ever ask him why he didn’t protect their child. He said that because he’s a father, he knows what it’s like, and will do whatever it takes to protect the students in this building.
When lunches begin, he goes into the cafeteria to greet more students and make sure that no issues, such as break-ups, divorce at home, or any conflict start drama on the school’s campus.
“Something I love about this job is that I make more positive contacts in a day than I ever could as a deputy in a cruiser,” Martin said.
Once lunches are over, he is almost done for the day.
“By lunch, you’ll most likely know if there’s going to be any issues that day.”
He goes to the parking lot and monitors the halls after lunches to ensure that early release students are leaving and no trouble arises.
Driving issues are the biggest problems he has. Occasionally he’ll get calls from parents in nearby neighborhoods reporting high school students driving recklessly past them or their houses.
“It’s important that kids know that they’re always being watched. Sure, we live in a free country with many liberties. However, that doesn’t mean that you can do whatever you want. People are always watching.” Martin said.
Some days, Martin teaches law enforcement classes at the Delaware Area Career Center.
“What I have devoted my life to is mentoring students. I know what it’s like; I’ve been there. I want kids to feel safe and know they have someone to talk to. If there’s a problem, we can always work it out, and I will always help them.”
Once Deputy Martin’s long day ends, he goes home, and either just hangs out and takes care of his kids, does yard work or works out.