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Police officer honored for work to keep kids in cars safe
Gainesvilles Justin Martin awarded Safe Kids volunteer of year
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Gainesville Police Sgt. Justin Martin poses for a photo with his patrol car on Tuesday. Martin was named Safe Kids Gainesville/Hall County’s volunteer of the year. - photo by Erin O. Smith

For Gainesville Police Sgt. Justin Martin, traffic safety is more than just a paycheck.

“It’s what I’m passionate about,” said the 30-year-old, “(especially) anytime you throw kids in the mix.”

For his efforts in teaching courses to area law enforcement, Martin was named Safe Kids Gainesville/Hall County’s Tim Peebles Volunteer of the Year during a luncheon Tuesday at the Gainesville Civic Center.

“He has participated in numerous education events about the importance of child safety seats and usage for children,” Safe Kids coordinator Kimberly Martin said.

Safe Kids, an arm of Northeast Georgia Medical Center and Health System, features programs, such as car seat checkups, safety workshops and sports clinics, geared to helping parents and caregivers prevent childhood injuries.

The annual award is named after Hall County Fire Services Capt. Tim Peebles, who died in 2010 after an extended illness. He had served as Emergency Medical Services coordinator.

Justin Martin has worked in law enforcement for 11 years, 9 ½ with the Gainesville Police Department.

He became interested in Safe Kids volunteering after he was assigned to the force’s traffic services unit.

Martin, a supervisor in the police department’s patrol division, later become a child passenger safety instructor for Safe Kids.

“I’ve also coordinated some efforts within our agency to promote the child passenger safety initiatives that we do,” he said.

“He makes sure that seats are properly installed, and if someone needs a seat, he makes sure they get one through (Safe Kids),” said Gainesville Police Chief Carol Martin, who was at the luncheon with the sergeant.

In presenting the award, Kimberly Martin said Justin Martin recently worked with Safe Kids “to establish an inventory of child safety seats at the police department, so we could readily address anyone in need of a car seat.”

“He’s a good person,” Carol Martin said. “And you’ve got to be a good person to be a good officer. He’s good dad and husband, and he works hard to take care of everybody.”

Safe Kids also presented Audrey Simmons of Gainesville Middle School with the Teacher of the Year Award, and the Community Agency of the Year award went to Kohl’s department store in Flowery Branch and the Gainesville Fire Department.

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