Former Police Superintendent LeRoy Martin, Sr. eulogized as an agent for change, a fighter for justice, and a man â€œcommitted to do goodâ€
Martin was â€œbrutally honestâ€ and â€œalmost alwaysâ€ would give a straight and honest answer. â€œHe would tell you the truthâ€ – Eugene E. Williams, Chief, Bureau of Administration, CPD.
By Juanita Bratcher
Author, Editor & Publisher of CopyLine Magazine
Former Chicago Police Superintendent LeRoy Martin, Sr. was an â€œagent for change,â€ â€œa fighter for justice,â€ and a man who â€œloved life and lived it to the fullest,â€ according to friends and colleagues who gave tributes during funeral services for Martin Saturday at the House of Hope, 752 East 114th Street, in Chicago.
Martin was appointed Chicago Police Superintendent by Mayor Harold Washington in 1987 and served 37 years with the Chicago Police Department.
According to Martinâ€™s Obituary, in 1955, he became a beat patrolman with the Chicago Police Department and worked his way up through the ranks. He worked as an Accident Investigator in the Traffic Division, went on to the Youth Division, Vice Control, Internal Affairs, and the Auditing and Internal Control Division.
Martin was promoted to Sergeant in 1965, Lieutenant in 1975 and Captain in 1981. He served as Commander of Narcotics and Commander of the Detective Division in Area 2. He was promoted to Deputy Chief of Patrol in Area 4 in 1984. And he held that position until named Police Superintendent in 1987.
But his law enforcement career didnâ€™t end there. After retiring from the CPD in 1992, Martin would serve in other positions: Director of Public Safety for the Chicago Housing Authority, Chief of Police for Central Management Services for the State of Illinois, and Chief of Investigations for the Cook County Medical Examinerâ€™s Office.
â€œMen like LeRoy Martin were part of the solutionâ€¦a steady agent of changeâ€¦a life line for many,â€ said Rev, Jesse Knox, III, Church of the Good Shepherd, noting Martinâ€™s quest for justice, freedom, prosperity and peace.
Eugene E. Williams, Chief, Bureau of Administration, CPD, said Martin was â€œbrutally honestâ€ and â€œalmost alwaysâ€ would give a straight and honest answer. â€œHe would tell you the truth.â€
Williams said the second most difficult job is that of being Superintendent of Police, that a superintendent often pushes his troops to the very limits because giving in and failure is never an option.
â€œSuperintendent Martin lived and breathed CPD blue. Sure, he realized how blessed he was to be superintendent â€“ but it can get awfully lonely at the top,â€ adding that Chicago Police Superintendents Garry McCarthy, Jody Weis, Â Phil Cline, Terry Hillard, and Matt Rodriguez can attest to that.Â â€œIndeed, those four stars can become very, very heavy on your shoulders. But you have to take the hits. And Supt. Martin took more than his fair share…you got to be strong and you have to push hard.â€
Liking superintendents to that of Marines, Williams said â€œOnce a superintendent, always a superintendent,â€ and that Martin and other superintendents couldnâ€™t have done it unless having strong support from family.
Reflecting on Martinâ€™s life, tribute speakers said there was a powerful impression of Martin as a great man, committed to do good, and an â€œhonest copâ€ as he moved up in command. He walked a straight line always, no exception, and wanted to interact with family and neighbors.
It was pointed out that former Police Superintendent, Fred Rice, now deceased, who was also appointed to the post by Mayor Harold Washington, said of Martin, â€œI never met a finer police officer.â€
Colleagues and friends said Marin was open, honest, direct and to the point; a man of great humility.
There were ceremonies by the Chicago Police Department, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, and St Jude Society. Bishop Tellas Jackson gave the Eulogy. Other participants were Karl Cunningham (Organ Prelude), Pastor Darrell Andrews, Harvey Memorial Community Church; Rev. Frank Sherrod (soloist); Lynne Rone (Poem); Dr. Daniel Harrison (Scripture), Church of Christ; Ruby Rogers (Acknowledgements); Quincy Cochran (Recessional). Tributes were made by Father John J. Sullivan, Chaplain, Cook County Sheriff Police & Illinois State Police; Rev. Jesse Knox, III, Church of the Good Shepherd; Sharon Ellis Reed, Chaplain, Chicago Police Department; and Eugene E. Williams, Chief, Bureau of Administration, and Martinâ€™s grandchildren. Terry Hilliard, Retired Superintendent of Police, was also listed on the program for a tribute. Resolutions were given by the Chicago Police Department and Harvey Memorial Community Church.
Rev. James Meeks is pastor of the House of Hope and a former Illinois State Senator.
Reportedly, when the Superintendent post was open, in an interview with the mayor, Martin was asked, whatâ€™s different about you? His response: â€œI fight crime.â€
And to Martin they would say: â€œJob well done my good and faithful servant,â€ a Biblical excerpt from Matthew 25:23.
LeRoy Martin, Sr. died on August 31, 2013. He was 84 years old.
Martin leaves to cherish his memory his loving wife of 59 years, Constance Maxine; sons LeRoy Jr. (Denise) and Ronald (Tensie); daughter Dawn; brother Henry (Dorothy); sister Rosalie Thomas; eight sisters-in-laws, sever brothers-in-law; nieces, nephews and other relatives and friends.
Martin was a dedicated law enforcement professional whose career spanned many decades. And oh, what a journey it was, his family, friends, supporters and colleagues all acknowledge.
It was a journey that was deemed a blessing for Martin, his family, friends, colleagues, mankind and the world.