|Chief Kent Martin meets with students during "Coffee with the Cops" event.|
Eastern Illinois University’s new chief of police wants his department to better connect with the public -- both on campus and off.
As interim chief, Kent Martin has given much thought to ways in which he can “get UPD reconnected to students, faculty and staff.” A “Coffee with the Cops” event held earlier today in the MLK Jr. Union represents the type of informal interactions he has already planned to strengthen ties between various campus constituencies.
With the announcement that Martin will assume the permanent role of chief, effective Sept. 1, he can now schedule other such events while exploring even more ways in which to familiarize the EIU and Charleston communities with his department.
“We will focus on outreach and, in doing so, we are available to speak to any group or organization that would be interested in having us,” Martin said. “That goes for the residents of Charleston, as well. I think it is important for them to know a little more about us and exactly what it is that we do.”
Martin’s appointment was announced by Lynette Drake, interim associate vice president for student affairs, following a national search process that brought three candidates to the EIU campus.
“Chief Martin’s knowledge of and commitment to the university is commendable. He is well respected within the local law enforcement community and has worked collaboratively through Eastern’s police department with the city, county and state,” Drake said. “I applaud his vision to enhance UPD’s communication, visibility and interactions with campus constituents and community partners.”
Martin, a 19-year veteran of Eastern’s Police Department, replaces Adam Due, who retired Dec. 31, 2015, after more than 12 years in the position.
Since his arrival on campus in 1997, Martin has served as a patrol officer, detective, field training officer, evidence custodian, SWAT team member and juvenile police officer. He was promoted to lieutenant in February 2016.
As chief, in addition to strengthening bonds between the department and the public, Martin intends to bring training opportunities to the campus community. Topics may include, but not be limited to, A.L.I.C.E. (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) training to address scenarios involving an intruder(s) on campus and the possible resurrection of the R.A.D. (rape aggression defense) self-defense program.
Internally, he oversees a 14-member department currently working to ensure compliance with mandated training requirements and equipment updates (e.g., in-car video cameras).
There will be some personnel moves, Martin added, and he will continue to review departmental policies for potential revisions and upgrades.
Prior to coming to EIU, Martin was a member of the Kansas, Ill., police department, first as a patrol officer (1993), then as chief of police. He is a 1992 graduate of the University of Tennessee at Martin, where he received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. In 2013, he earned his master’s degree in technology from EIU.
He is an avid Chicago Cubs fan and enjoys reading, fishing, and traveling. He lives in rural Charleston, along with his wife, Nancy, and two stepsons, Trenton and Chase. He is the son of Bob and Anita Martin of Paris, Ill., where he was born.