The Liberty City Council unanimously approved the appointment of James Martin as Liberty’s next Police Chief at its meeting on Monday, June 13.
Martin, who has more than 28 years of law enforcement experience, comes to Liberty from the Glenpool, Oklahoma, Police Department, a suburb of Tulsa with a population of nearly 14,000. The Glenpool Police Department has 35 civilian staff and commissioned law enforcement officers and a $2.5 million annual budget.
“The City of Liberty is blessed with a Police Department of officers, dispatchers and civilian personnel that are qualified, caring and selfless professionals,” Mayor Lyndell Brenton said. “We were looking for a Police Chief with progressive experience, new perspectives and the confidence to know he/she did not have all the answers. Jim Martin has the resume, demeanor and management style to successfully lead the Liberty Police Department while leveraging the collective wisdom of the dedicated professionals he will be working with and commanding. We owe a debt of gratitude to outgoing Chief Jim Simpson for his many years of outstanding service and eagerly welcome incoming Chief Jim Martin to the City of Liberty!”
When Martin assumes the Police Chief role on July 27, he will focus on getting to know the members of the Police Department, City colleagues and elected officials as well as the Liberty community.
“Chief Martin brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this position,” said Liberty’s City Administrator Curt Wenson. “We believe he will be able to build on the positive culture and continue moving the Liberty Police Department forward as our community changes and law enforcement environment continues to evolve.”
Martin spent much of his career rising through the ranks of the Lawrence, Kansas, Police Department, which he joined in 1997 as a Police Officer and progressed to the rank of Captain. Over his 16-year career with the Lawrence Police Department, he served in many capacities including as a Juvenile Investigations Officer, Detective, Sergeant of the Investigations Division. As Captain, Martin managed a patrol shift, oversaw major incidents and developed operational plans for special events within the City of Lawrence.
Martin also spent five years as the Undersheriff for Douglas County, Kan., where he managed 70 civil staff and patrol officers and directed all aspects of the patrol, investigations, warrants, civil process, court security and Internal Affairs. He also developed and managed a $5.5 million budget and collaborated with the Sherriff and County Administrator to create and manage a $13.9 million financial plan.
In addition to his decades of experience in municipal and county law enforcement, Martin also served as a military police officer for the Unites States Marine Corps and the Kansas Army National Guard. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Kansas and is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the National Public Employer Labor Relations Association, FBI National Academy Associates, the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association.
Martin, was selected from a strong slate of applicants for the Police Chief role. The City’s multi-phased interview process included panels with City staff, elected officials, and representatives from the Fraternal Order of Police and Liberty Public School District.
Following the retirement of Chief James Simpson in July, Captain Andy Hedrick will serve as acting Chief until Martin is sworn in on July 27.