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DILLEY MOURNS LONG-SERVING SERGEANT
By Marc Robertson
Funeral services will be held at noon on Saturday, March 27, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church for Sgt. Michael Martinez, 39, one of Dilley’s longest-serving police officers, who died last weekend.
The police sergeant had been on medical leave when he succumbed due to complications from surgery at a hospital in Corpus Christi on Saturday, March 20.
Funeral arrangements include an invitation by the Dilley Police Department to all neighboring law enforcement agencies to salute the officer when his remains are returned to his home town. An 11 a.m. line-up of patrol vehicles on Hwy 85 will honor the sergeant and lead to his funeral mass. A 21-gun salute is also scheduled, and Sgt. Martinez’ officer number, 2732, will be officially retired by order of the police chief.
Martinez was a Dilley native and local high school graduate who earned his peace officer license upon completing his training with a lifelong goal of serving his community. After working a number of years as a reserve and part-time officer, he was hired for full-time service as a patrolman in Dilley in June 2011. During his career, he also worked for sheriff’s offices in Frio, La Salle and Uvalde counties and as a correctional officer in Travis County. While known locally for his years of service in city police, Martinez was also celebrated for his valiance and perseverance in the face of considerable physical challenge. He had lost a leg to infection and was fitted with a prosthesis in order to continue his public service.
After losing his second leg early last year, he was undergoing physical therapy with two prostheses, regained much of his mobility and had earned a number of promotions during his years at the department. He also served as an advocate for amputees and promoted fitness and exercise regimens.
“Our hope was that he would be able to return to full patrol duties and continue serving the department,” Dilley PD Sgt. Angel Esparza said this week. “He will be missed by the many whom he worked with and by the community he served with dedication.”
The Dilley Police Department issued a statement over the weekend saluting the officer for his “selfless and diligent service to the city with honor and respect.”
“Michael started off as a patrol officer and made his way to the rank of sergeant in our agency,” Police Chief Homer Delgado wrote after the officer’s death. “He leaves behind a loving family, two children, and his brothers and sisters in blue.
“Sgt. Martinez served and protected our community for many years,” the chief wrote. “Now we humbly ask that you please keep his immediate family and friends in your prayers during this difficult time.”
The city has established a memorial to Martinez in the police station lobby in the municipal building on Commerce Street downtown; friends and colleagues are being invited to visit to pay their respects.