Rutherford County, TN - Sean Martin has been named as the first assistant safety director for Rutherford County Schools. In 2006 Martin began his career with Murfreesboro Police Department in dispatch. He moved from the communications center into position as a patrol officer in 2009.
Martin was promoted to sergeant in 2021, and most recently moved into the SRO sergeant position before applying for and attaining the role of assistant safety director with RCS, which is a new position supporting Safety Director Patty Oeser.
In this Q+A, Martin answers questions about his position and vision for the role.
Q: How has your career in law enforcement prepared you for this position?
A: In a lot of ways. Law enforcement prepares you to go out and talk to people you may not normally talk to. It has taught me critical decision making and how to use interpersonal connections and skills — how to communicate within a bigger network such as the police department. It taught me communication skills. A lot of work in law enforcement is taking reports, building networks and connections with your community, and establishing trust. Nowadays it's very difficult to earn that trust factor, and it’s up to the police department to ensure professionalism, integrity, honor, courage, all those things and all those factors must come in. I think those things are important — building community connections.
Q: You talked about interpersonal communication skills and working in the network of
the police department. Who do you anticipate communicating with the most in this position? How closely do you anticipate working with the safety director?
A: In my current position, most communication will be networking with the school administration, Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office and central office staff. (Patty) Oeser and I work daily with one another to ensure that all schools are safe. Through our partnerships with the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office and central office staff, we work to prevent and mitigate the issues that arise throughout the day.
Q: What do you see as your responsibilities as assistant safety director?
A: I think the No. 1 responsibility in any type of school safety position is physical security. Emergency preparedness and being prepared for it. You can’t undermine physical security and emergency preparedness, that is the most paramount thing you must have.
Another important one for me is mental health. As I told you earlier, mental health is huge to me. I’m getting my degree in psychology — that's how important mental health is to me. I think we can look for even small things, signs and symptoms. I teach mental health, or did for the police department, and what they teach is their concept of signs and symptoms. So, we look for those clues that are being exhibited. Anyone can be trained in this material. If administrators, principals, assistant principals' teachers, etc ... They can step in and help in a situation where we realize something’s wrong, maybe we can provide some services.
Q: Are there any changes you envision when you think about mental health and student safety?
A: Patty (Oeser) has already taken strides and steps for mental health. She has started a crisis team where we are working to touch on what you talked about earlier. As far as physical security and safety we are working on reunification protocols if something like a major event were to happen — so Patty has a training scheduled in June to have the team take care of something like that if it happens, the team will be activated.
Q: Tell me something about yourself not related to work.
A: Most people do not know, but I actually have three great danes. I have pepper, my middle child. She’s six. Then I have Herschel, who’s two. Then Bella, my oldest. She’s eight. They eat a lot of food — so lots of money. I also like to go bowling. I have my own bowling ball and shoes.
Article by GRAYSON LEE MAXWELL