Agua Dulce -For the first time in almost 80 years, the small town of Agua Dulce has a City Marshal.
On Monday, in front of a large crowd Joe Martinez was sworn into his new position.
“History making in Agua Dulce. It is history...,” said Agua Dulce Mayor John Howard. "Give or take 77 years and now tonight we’re going to have a marshal again."
Martinez, with his wife by his side, swore to serve and protect the residents of Agua Dulce no matter how old or young.
“I will be here to protect and serve, but it takes all of us…,” Martinez said as he looked around the room. In the room were friends he had made in his career from law enforcement officers from several counties to civilians.
Martinez graduated from the police academy in 2001.
For the last two years, Martinez was working at the Duval County Sheriff’s Office where he started as the school resource officer and climbed the ranks to Patrol Captain. Before that he worked with the Jim Wells County Sheriff’s Office under former Sheriff Oscar Lopez.
Under Lopez, Martinez started in the JWC jail and worked his way to patrol deputy, K9 handler, went to sniper school and patrol captain.
Now, thanks to a generous donation of $200,000 from Wyatt Ranches, in June, the City Marshal's office was able to re-opened.
Brad Wyatt, administrator of the Wyatt Ranches, said their purpose is to give back to the Texas communities in which the ranches are located in such as Duval, Jim Wells and Nueces Counties.
“The Ranches are very proud to be part of the communities we have property in…The need for law enforcement in rural areas is very critical and often times, in rural areas, dollars are stretched, budget wise. The mayor layed out a plan and it was something we wanted to do."
Mayor Howard had originally contacted Wyatt Ranches in 2017, requesting funds for greater law enforcement after all of the City’s maintenance equipment, valued at approximately $80,000, was stolen. In addition, brazen daytime burglaries in Agua Dulce were on the rise. However, after a recent incident in May of this year, when gunshots were discharged from a motor vehicle passing through the City, the Mayor again contacted Wyatt Ranches, reiterating a desperate need for community protection and law enforcement in Agua Dulce.
Tracing the town’s origins back to the early 1900′s, the City of Agua Dulce’s charter called for the appointment of a City Marshal. In May of 1940, A. S. Langham was the first City Marshal to serve the City of Agua Dulce and the office remained active in the 1940′s.
The Mayor and City Council have elected to resurrect the City Marshal’s Office with Martinez providing protection of their residents’ lives and property.