"I tried to walk slowly in here, maybe in hopes that I could turn around and go back," were the first words out of Chief Melvin Martin's mouth.
After that the room fell silent, as Police Chief Melvin Martin took his seat between City Manager Larry Gilley and Mayor Norm Archibald. Then Chief Martin warned the everyone in the crowded room not to cry, "I'll throw anybody out that starts crying," laughed Martin. His wife in the front row shouted out above the laughter that he'd be the first to go.
Chief Martin spoke to a crowd of family, friends, and co-workers announcing the end of May will be his last day as Police Chief, ending a 40 year run. "It has really been a joy. It has been a tremendous career."
While his presence will be missed, he and others assured that the Police Department is able to carry on without him. "APD is in very good hands, and I feel very good at this time about retiring, because I know it's going to move forward."
The room seemingly hung on Chief Martin's words, both Gilley and Archibald took time to praise Martin for his long service. "40 years is really phenomenal in any profession, but particularly in law enforcement," says City Manager Larry Gilley. Mayor Norm Archibald added, "You [Martin] have brought honor to our community in many ways."
As the hunt for Martin's replacement will soon start, today was about honoring Chief Melvin Martin.
"We wish you well and you are a great friend and a great Chief," closed Mayor Archibald, ending with an eruption of applause.