New Oxford chief says he’ll focus on community policing

Published 4:31 pm Friday, September 7, 2007

Oxford’s new police chief says he wants officers in the department to build closer ties to the community they’re sworn to serve and protect.

“I want the community to be on a first-name basis with the officers so if they have problems or issues they can feel comfortable talking to them,” Mike Martin said.

The Oxford Board of Aldermen named Martin chief this week, removing the “interim” title he had held since the previous chief, Steve Bramlett, retired in June. Martin had been assistant chief under Bramlett.

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“After the retirement of Chief Bramlett, Mike Martin graciously accepted the interim position, which gave the board the chance to take their time on the process,” Mayor Richard Howorth said.

“Some people told us to go outside the city and others said to look inside. The board took everything into consideration and interviewed four excellent candidates. The city has ultimately determined that Mike Martin is the best candidate for the position.”

The city had 17 applicants for the position but only interviewed the four finalists.

“All of the candidates were very well qualified,” Human Resource Director Al Hope said.

Because of confidentiality agreements, Hope would not release detailed information about the other applicants, but he confirmed that each candidate had between 19 and 22 years’ experience. Two of the finalists were from Mississippi and one was from Virginia.

Martin has more than 25 years of public safety experience, all of which has been with the city of Oxford.

The next step the city has to take is to fill Martin’s previous position — assistant police chief. Hope said aldermen will decide whether the position will be advertised internally or outside the department.