Nevada Police Chief Ric Martinez has been chosen as the new Public Safety Director for the city.
The decision to move Martinez, who has been chief of police for Nevada for nearly two years, into the PSD position came after a special meeting of the city council on Oct. 1.
“While the Public Safety Director position is fairly new for the City of Nevada, we believe Ric will continue the positive changes of the previous director, merging the police and fire departments and helping them become even more efficient, while maintaining the same quality of services,” said Mayor Andy Kelly.
Martinez, 57, said he was pleased to get the offer to take this position. “Whenever there is an opening for someone I may need to work for, there are always some apprehensions. With my appointment, the officers are familiar with my style of leadership and know my expectations,” Martinez said. “I have a good working relationship with the fire chief and city administration, so the transition will be easy.”
As the new PSD for the city, Martinez will also retain his role as police chief. He said this is a move that will save the city from paying another salaried position and will allow the Nevada Police Department to add a second sergeant to its ranks.
“Both sergeants will be handling the day-to-day operations of the police department, while I concentrate on my duties as the public safety director,” Martinez explained. He said he plans to learn more about fire service and EMS so that he can be effective in providing the resources those departments need to carry out their missions.
Martinez said Fire Chief Dana Wipperman will have a change in his title from fire chief to director of fire and EMS, which will promote the continuity of the Department of Public Safety for the city of Nevada. Additionally, he said, the police department is in the process of certifying officers as EMT-Bs. “I am hoping to have six officers certified as EMT-B by the end of the year, with the goal of having an EMT on duty at all times.”
The Nevada Police Department will now have a certified officer position to fill to put the department at its authorized 10-officer capacity. Martinez said the hiring process for an officer takes a while, but “we will be hiring as soon as we can.” He also noted that the fire department, run primarily with volunteers, is always looking to add to its numbers.
Martinez said he fully supports the need for a PSD position in Nevada, and he believes that his hiring will provide permanency and stability to the position.
Martinez came to Nevada in August of 2004, working as a sergeant under former police chief, Mike Tupper. Martinez was officially promoted to chief of police in May of 2012. Prior to coming to Nevada, Martinez, a native of Sterling, Ill., was an officer in Clinton for 19-and-a-half years.
Martinez is the father of six grown children. Three of his children live in the Des Moines metro area, two in the Cedar Rapids area and one lives in Honolulu, Hawaii. His wife, Carla, works for the Iowa Department of Education in Des Moines.
The City Council will vote Oct. 14 on formalizing Martinez’s employment agreement by swearing him in as the public safety director. He is expected to begin his new position upon that approval.