By Will Johnson
HOUSTON COUNTY – While the general election is still over a year away, several candidates have already tossed their hats into the ring to run for public office.
One of these candidates is Houston County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Investigative Sergeant Ryan Martin. Martin, a 16-year veteran with the HCSO, recently took time to speak with The Messenger about why he would like to be Houston County’s next sheriff, after current Sheriff Darrell Bobbitt’s retirement.
“I’ve thought about running for sheriff for years,” Martin said. “I guess the main reason that I’m wanting to run is because of the investment that I’ve already made by being here. “I’ve been in the sheriff’s office for going on 17 years now. This is where I started my law enforcement career. Sheriff Bobbitt has done a great job and I want to make sure we continue to go in the right direction in the future by making sure we are doing what we need to do and giving the citizens of the community the service they deserve and the service they expect.”
Concerning qualifications and training he has received, Martin said he has worked at “… pretty much every division at the sheriff’s office. I started out as a jailer. I worked back there full-time for about a year while I went to the academy at night. Since then, I have worked patrol. I have been a full-time narcotics investigator. There were several years where I worked nothing but narcotics. I’ve got a clandestine meth/drug lab, HazMat (hazardous material) certification. I have highway drug interdiction training, specialized undercover training and working confidential informants. Most of my specialized training was over a two to three year period concerning drugs.”
Since then, Martin has worked as a patrol supervisor and has held a supervisory role since 2014. Currently in the Criminal Investigation Division, Martin has also completed courses in active shooter response, asset investigations and recently worked on the 20-year-old cold case of Dina Shoemake.
“We have to have a minimum of 40 hours of continuing education every two year and I go way above that every year,” he said.
One of the biggest scourges in the East Texas area in general – and in Houston County specifically – has been the influx of methamphetamine usage and production.
As far as combatting this ongoing issue, Martin said he would like to target the drug traffickers more so than the drug users.
“Those investigations take a little bit more knowledge and experience and they take some time. IT’s usually not overnight with those cases. That is where I want our focus to be. We are going to have a strong narcotics program. WE will be tough on drugs. We are going to target the drug dealers and traffickers. Sometimes those user amount arrests happen and they are necessary, but that is not what our focus needs to be. It needs to be the drug dealers,” he said.
In terms of a philosophy, the sheriff’s candidate expressed a determination to be proactive.
“I want to make sure we are out in the public and being involved in the community, doing our jobs and working hard. Really, you can sum it up by saying hard work and dedication. We will do what we have to do but at the same time we need to be fair and treat people with respect. We will treat people the way they deserve to be treated. You can do your job in law enforcement and still treat people right. That’s what we are going to do. We are going to work hard. We are going to be fair. We are going to be dedicated and we are going to try and make Houston County a better place to live,” he explained.
While the election is still over a year away, Martin provided a message for potential voters.
“Since I’ve been here, I’ve had the opportunity to watch this office. I have seen things that work well and like I’ve said, I think Sheriff Bobbitt has done a great job. I have had a unique opportunity to watch this, but I’ve also seen things we can do better. I believe we always need to strive to do better.”
Martin has been married for nearly 25 years. The couple have two sons, one 23 and the other 17. The Martin’s also have a two-year-old granddaughter. He is a member of Good Shepherd Fellowship Church in Crockett.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.