Getting to know Officer A.J. Martin

We had 11 questions for Officer A.J. Martin in our ongoing series to get to know Division of Public Safety staff members:

How long have you worked for the Division of Public Safety?

Since January 2012

What’s a typical day like for you?

At work, I try to focus on specific behaviors that put other pedestrians and cars at risk like speeding, texting while driving, and disobeying stop signs. When I’m able to, I like to follow-up on reports I take like thefts, criminal damage, and mental health crises.

At home, I spend as much time as I can with my family. Cub Scouts, baseball, training the dog, and especially cooking. Most officers know about my jambalaya, chili, and smoked turkey! 

What’s your favorite part of your job? What’s the worst?

Favorite part is the fat pay check and free clothes, obviously! Kidding. Seeing how proud my son, wife and family are of me. They know that with all the bad press police have received of late, their UIPD officer is out there trying to do things the right way.

Worst part is the major incidents where lives are lost. I always wish I could have done more for the person and families affected.

What is one thing that makes you different?

I’m a fountain of useless knowledge. I always know some random fact or movie quote for whatever thing I’m doing.

What is something you’d like to see changed on campus or in the community?

I would like to see everyone pump the brakes when it comes to reacting to high profile incidents. That includes the police, media, politicians, and the community. Too often we reach an immediate conclusion which ends up being incorrect or inaccurate. 

Where is your favorite place to eat in Champaign-Urbana?

Champaign – Fiesta Cafe 

Urbana – Attie’s

What’s one of your funniest or fondest memories at the University of Illinois Police Department

Funny stuff definitely isn’t Internet appropriate. Fondest memory was when I was in field training, first week on the job. I stopped at my brother’s office and walked in with my handcuffs out and said, “Alright Martin, let’s not make this difficult.” His office mate, whom I failed to take into account, was a little freaked out. 

If given the chance, who would you choose to be for a day?

My wife, absolutely. She’s such a hard worker and beautiful woman. I’d love to be half as wonderful as her, even if just for one day. Buuuuut since she wouldn’t want to be me for a day in return… Ryan Reynolds! 

What is your motto in life?

He who serves his fellows, is of his fellows greatest.

If you had once in a lifetime front-row tickets and a backstage pass to meet a recording artist, who would it be?

The Blues Brothers – they did a few concerts in the 80s. Loved the movie, loved the albums, tolerated Blues Brothers 2000.

What’s something you would like to tell students?

Before you judge someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you do judge them you’ll be a mile away, and you’ll have their shoes.