A recent badge pinning formalized Kevin Martin’s new title as Lompoc’s Police Chief. Martin has held the position in the interim since his predecessor Joseph Mariani’s retirement at the end of 2022.
During the Lompoc City Council’s last meeting of March, Martin’s wife, Gina Martin, pinned her husband’s new badge onto his chest. Following his swearing-in ceremony, Martin—who first joined the Lompoc Police Department as an officer in 1994—gave a brief speech.
“Twenty-nine years ago this month I stood in what is now my office, when Bob Hebert was chief of police. He swore me in as a young officer—much younger than I am today,” Martin said at the March 21 meeting. “What I take from all this is my goal as your chief is to create an environment where a young officer starting their career today can be mentored and developed into the future chief of police.”
Another objective Martin wants to prioritize in his new role is to help increase “the public’s trust and engagement with the police department” by bringing back a handful of in-person community programs that were discontinued at the start of the pandemic and haven’t resurfaced since, he told the Sun.
“A few years ago, we created a self-defense course for the public where officers who are trained in weaponless defense teach citizens basic self-defense techniques,” Martin said of one of the programs the department plans to resurrect over the next few months. “I really wanted to get that one back up and running as soon as possible.”
Past iterations of the four-day program were open to adult residents of Lompoc, while this year the department will host a session at Lompoc High School for graduating seniors.
Martin also plans to bring back the Lompoc Police Department’s Community Academy—a 14-week program where the public can learn about different sections of the department and their respective operations, firsthand from officers—sometime this summer.
“It’s just another way for us to engage with the community and build the trust. I have a saying that we are continuously depositing into the bank of trust,” Martin said. “The littlest thing you do could be a deposit into the bank of trust. Just spending 15 more minutes on a call for somebody—who, maybe it’s their first time engaging with a police officer—can really change that person’s opinion and make them feel more comfortable.”
In 1991, Martin kicked off his law enforcement career with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and later went on to hold positions with both the Lompoc Police Department and the Santa Maria Police Department.
In 2007, he took on a teaching job in which he led forensics courses for law enforcement personnel in various states and outside the U.S. He returned to the Lompoc Police Department in 2009, and was promoted to police captain in 2019.
In a statement from the city of Lompoc, City Manager Dean Albro said that Martin’s “wealth of experience and deep commitment to public service will serve him well in this new role, and that he will continue to be an outstanding leader for the police department and in the community.”