A Lasting Legacy

Millard North’s School Resource Officer has finally put in his two weeks, and it is time for him to retire.

It has now become the time for MN to say one of its hardest goodbyes. The shoes of a legendary officer will be left behind, ones once filled with kindness, selflessness, and Dum-Dum lollipops. 

On Sept. 9, MN said its final salutations to School Resource Officer John Martinez. After 15 years of dedicated service to the school,  Martinez decided it was time to retire. 

“I put in 30 years [to the Omaha Police Department], and you just reach a point where, you know, it’s time to move on to another challenge,” Martinez said.

This year would’ve been Martinez’s 30th year of working with the Omaha Police Department. Before coming to MN,  Martinez was assigned as a uniform patrol officer for a total of 10 years. And before making his final stop as a School Resource Officer at MN, he worked as a detective in the detective bureau for five years. 

At MN, Martinez’s impact has been memorable, leaving students and staff members with fond souvenirs that will last them a lifetime.  

“My favorite memories of Officer Martinez involve his outstanding rapport with students, staff, and community members at hundreds of events, games, and activities within our school,” Principal Brian Begley said. “I will always remember the sight of smiling Officer Martinez standing in the commons area distributing candy to our students in a successful effort to build a strong relationship with our kids.”

Staff and students both agree that they will miss Martinez. He had spent his days bonding with students and creating a safe environment for students to prosper.

Students past and present can recall the great times associated with Officer Martinez. MN alumni, now a MN English teacher, Jacob Bergmeier is one of these students. Not only was he a student during four years of Martinez’s career, but he has been a teacher for the last two years of his career as well. 

Throughout Bergmeier’s time as a student, he recalls the support he was given by Martinez. Not only through sports, as Martinez has the reputation of being the MN Football team’s number one supporter, but through his overall school experience. 

“Officer Martinez, as a freshman, was very welcoming. He got to know [the students] and made a point, to introduce himself, which was really cool,” Bergmeier said, “Having that sort of figure reaching out made it much more welcoming.” 

As a Millard West transfer, Bergmeier was completely new to MN. To help ease his transition, Martinez welcomed him with open arms, giving a sense of belonging to Bergemeier’s new adventure. 

To this day, Bergmeier still has a strong relationship with Martinez. 10 years after graduating, Bergmeier reconnected with Martinez and immediately noticed that Martinez was still the positive and influential individual he had known when he graduated in 2011. 

Martinez has not only helped students out in their day-to-day lives but has also helped out teachers by handling dangerous situations in and outside of the classroom. His selfless acts of protection will always be remembered by the staff members.

“He gives his time up freely, not just for Millard North, but for elsewhere he is needed as well,”  history teacher Lance Ott said. “He’s a true public servant.” 

Not only do the students, past and current, have warm memories of Officer Martinez, but he has some of his own as well. 

“Certainly, just working with the students. I mean, that’s the biggest thing for me,” Martinez said, “Relationship building, going into the classroom, talking to the students in the classrooms, answering questions.”

Building these strong relationships with students was one of the most important parts of Martinez’s job, and he always put it first. 

Throughout the years he has been interviewed in Journalism teacher Sarah Crotzer’s Intro to Journalism class, along with answering questions in Ott’s law studies class.  

“The thing about Officer Martinez is he really cares about kids, and that comes across when he tells you the police side of things, why they do what they do,” Ott said. 

In these question and answer sessions in Ott’s semester-long Law Studies classes, the kids were able to see the law from the point of view of a police officer.

MN students see Martinez as a human, not just someone in a uniform. They see him as a role model, someone who is trying to protect them and is willing to be honest with them. 

As Martinez leaves, he is leaving a strong legacy behind, a position soon to be preceded by Officer Raymond Carlisle, Omaha South’s former School Resource Officer. 

The legacy left behind by Martinez may be one hard to fill, but Carlisle has the ambition to fill those shoes as best as he possibly can. 

With the support of Martinez and the school administration, Officer Martinez’s legacy will live on for years to come.