Most wanted: Officer seeking web surfers
Polk County Enterprise, March 2007
LIVINGSTON – Police are looking for all the web surfers they can find. Officer Marty Drake is just a few mouse clicks away from being named A First Responder All Star by the Fox TV show, America’s Most Wanted.
“It helps people see police officers as people,” Drake said. “That’s one reason I like working at the school. Some of these kids have seen police come to their homes because of a problem that involves their parents. This is an opportunity for kids to see that police aren’t just here to take people to jail.
Nominees who receive the most votes each week for the next eight weeks will be recognized. The weekly finalists will be eligible for the 2007 All Star grand prize and an appearance on the show.
Visit www.amw.com/allstar to vote for Drake. As of Friday afternoon, he was one of the few Texas first responders featured on the Web site.
Drake’s duties with Livingston Police Department have him focused on community policing and providing positive interaction with students at Livingston Junior High School.
He’s been stationed on that campus for five years and runs the Crime Stoppers program as well as DUI and drug awareness programs.
While working with the Onalaska Police Department in 1999, Drake received the department’s Medal of Honor.
One of the incidents mentioned in connection with the honor was Drake’s response to a call when a child was electrocuted just outside his assigned area.
The incident occurred in San Jacinto County, but Drake was still the closest officer so he went to the scene.
The child had come in contact with electrical lines and the lines and the child had fallen into the water.
Drake removed the child and started CPR, but the child could not be saved.
Drake is an honorary member of the Livingston Volunteer Fire Department where he teaches fire safety with his alter ego, Bunker the Fire Safety Clown.
“He is a college-trained clown,” said Matt Parrish, a LPD detective, jokingly referring to Drake’s participation in Texas A&M’s fire safety clown school.
“They teach you everything from putting on make-up to designing programs that really reach out to young kids,” Drake said.
Bunker often can be seen leading a squad of robots in area parades. The robots were purchased with fire prevention grant funds obtained by Fire Marshals Mark Taylor and Jay Barbee, according to Drake.
Drake is also a driving force behind the Salute to Heroes program held in October and slated to return this fall.
At least 40 emergency first-responder agencies were represented by more than 100 certified members at last year’s event.
Three medical helicopters also flew in for the event.
“This program gives people a chance to come out and see these people and vehicles,” Drake said. “A lot of people don’t get to see them unless we’re chasing them.”
Drake is also LPD’s gang intelligence officer and has organized the department’s Citizen’s Police Academy that gives residents some hands-on experience with LPD.
The Special Olympics program is another community project that Drake volunteers many hours to support.
Drake is a coach for the Polk County Go Getters basketball team.
“Marty does an outstanding job with Special Olympics and with the kids at the school,” Parrish said. “He always sets up a game between the Police Officers Association and the Go-Getters.”
Drake believes community policing benefits officers engaged in all aspects of law enforcement.