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Twenty-Five Years Later, Temporary Assignment Becomes Permanent Honor

Sgt. Rick Martinez started serving as an adviser to the Anaheim Police Explorers program more than 25 years ago because the then-chief told him it would be temporary.

Click on the image to view OC Register photographer Armando Brown's entire slideshow

“I joked that it’s the longest temporary job I could have had,” said Martinez, the department’s legendary public information officer. “But also so rewarding.”

Now, the post will bear his badge number forever.

On Wednesday night, dozens of current and former explorers – some now Anaheim Police officers – gave him a standing ovation as the Post 249 banner was unveiled for the first time.

Among the 125 people in the crowd: Orange County Register reporter Eric Carpenter.

“In his more than 25 years as adviser of the Anaheim Police Department’s Explorer program, Sgt. Rick Martinez guided hundreds of young men and women through the program, teaching them leadership, discipline and self-respect,” Carpenter wrote in a story published tonight.

“On Wednesday night, some of those explorers – now adults and some of them professional police officers – returned to honor the man they say was like a second father.

“With the blessing of Anaheim Chief John Welter, the Anaheim Explorers Post – known since the 1970s as Post 174 – was changed in honor of Martinez’s badge number to Post 249.

“It was an unprecedented honor. And a major surprise for Martinez, who now serves as the department’s public information officer.”

To read the rest of Carpenter’s outstanding report, click here.