Civil Servant of the Month: Former Marine lives for law enforcement
By Joe Southern
Martin Garret always knew he wanted to be a cop.
Being too young to join the force when he graduated from Dulles High School in 1987, he did the next best thing. He joined the Marines. Today he is a deputy in the Fort Bend County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office. The 29 years in between have been an amazing journey of dedication, determination and integrity.
He and his twin brother were born in Nicaragua in 1968. Their family fled the country when the Sandinistas took over in 1979. They settled in the Stafford and Missouri City area, becoming U.S. citizens seven years after their arrival. When they left high school, Garret and his twin Mario Gehret (Martin changed his last name) used the delayed entry program to enter the Marines in 1988. Two years later they served during Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, each with different units.
When the brothers left the Marines, they returned home and entered the Gus George Law Enforcement Academy. Martin graduated valedictorian of the academy’s sixth class and Mario finished tied for second in the class. Days before graduation the Missouri City Police Department recruited the brothers.
“In August of 1992 I started my law enforcement career,” he said.
From Missouri City he went to Stafford. Then the nation fell under attack.
“I reenlisted (in the Marines) a week after 9/11 and went back for another four years active duty serving two more tours in Iraq,” he said. “I returned home in November of 2006 to Meadows Place Police Department where I was a reserve until I started in Fulshear in 2007.”
After two years in Fulshear, Garret joined the constable’s office. There he has taken assignments that many others would consider undesirable or just plain drudgery. He patrols the county’s three toll roads and is also on the county’s Fatality Crash Response Team. His brother is a patrolman for the City of Sugar Land.
As part of the Fatality Crash Response Team, Garret uses the Auto Cad system to make scale drawings of crash scenes.
“I do work a lot of accidents,” he said.
While patrolling the Grand Parkway, Westpark Tollway and the Fort Bend Toll Road, Garret deals with a lot of speeders, reckless drivers and toll road violators. His favorite part of the job is helping people.
“We get a lot of disabled motor vehicle calls,” he said. “I’ll get out and change a tire in a heartbeat.”
His boss, Constable Trever Nehls, praised his professionalism.
“Deputy Garret is an outstanding employee who works tirelessly to assist Fort Bend County area residents, while also helping co-workers and other law enforcement agencies. He is a team player who strives for perfection,” he said. “He is a true asset to our office and Fort Bend County.”
Garret said the most difficult part of his job is stopping at the end of the day.
“Trying to get out at the end of the shift, go home and leave it behind,” he said. “I’d spend 24 hours on the job if I could.”
He said it’s no reflection on his wife and children and they respect his dedication.
“When I’m at work I’m happy and I enjoy it,” he said. “I’ve done it for 24 years and I still feel like a rookie.”
When he’s not at work, he and his wife Chandra are fitness nuts. She is into martial arts and he is a runner. Garret works out in the gym six days a week and runs on the seventh. He runs marathons, half-marathons, fun runs and other races.
“Health is a priority, so is healthy eating,” he said.
He said they are committed to fitness and good health for the sake of their children, Cali, 5, and Paxton 2. Paxton was born on Garret’s birthday.
“It was the best gift anyone could give anybody else,” he said.
As a law enforcement officer, he urges people to be aware of their surroundings and to be courteous on the roads.
“A lot of accidents happen due to intoxication, or texting,” he said. “If you are going to drink, don’t drive. If you drink, have a designated driver.
“Before cell phones came out, we managed to survive just fine, so wait to text or reply to text messages or emails when you have arrived at your destination safely. If you are driving, try to concentrate on just driving. It is already a very complex task.”