Torchlight | Spring 2014

Alumnus' desire to give back spurs support for law enforcement


Martinis
 Anthony Martinis knows first-hand how difficult it can be for a
 law enforcement officer to move up in his career without a
 college education.

Sometimes we all can use a helping hand.

For Anthony Martinis ’56 (Corrections Work and Administration), credit goes to some friends in high places for his decorated, colorful career in law enforcement. And he’s repaying the profession he reveres through a bequest to Sacramento State that will provide scholarships to officers in the field.

“A lot of law enforcement people are married and have children so going to the graduate level is a strain on their budget,” Martinis says. “I wanted to set up a scholarship for a person who is already a professional, so that he or she can move up.”

Martinis was a parole officer in Sacramento County for 17 years and he’s been a member of the Northern California Peace Officers Association for nearly 60 years, including a term as president.

His career got a boost from his friend Pat Patterson, an emeritus Sac State professor and a close confidant with former California governor Earl Warren.

Patterson’s recommendation eventually led to Martinis’ appointment as a parole officer by then-governor Ronald Reagan. Martinis distinguished himself as a valuable contributor for Sacramento County, but obtaining his dream job was not an easy process.

“My phone rang and there was a big booming voice,” Martinis remembers. “It was Walter T. Stone, the chief parole officer in Sacramento County. He said I’d been recommended for a parole officer position, but we need to talk to you about your qualifications. He said, ‘It wouldn’t hurt if you got a little more education.’”

In order to advance in his career, Martinis enrolled at Sac State, eventually earning his degree in corrections work and administration.

“They didn’t have a criminal justice program at the time,” Martinis says. “I took a lot of engineering classes and really enjoyed those but I got my degree in administration.”

Martinis embarked on his career as a parole officer and was an outstanding public servant. He served as a liaison officer to the U.S. Secret Service when President Kennedy visited the state, worked undercover and never shied away from extra duties.

Martinis, who retired in 1970, can tell stories for hours about the colorful characters and wild antics he encountered throughout the transformative 1950s and ‘60s. He transported prisoners, counseled inmates at Folsom and Vacaville and served as a criminal investigator during the Black Panther investigations.

The Roseville native is passionate about grooming the next generation of public servants and maintaining a high standard for law enforcement.

The scholarship endowment in Martinis’ name, valued at more than $1 million, will be open to current law enforcement officials in the region who wish to pursue their master’s degrees through Sac State’s highly ranked program.

“There currently isn’t any scholarship for graduate-level students (in criminal justice),” Martinis explains. “By setting up the scholarships through Sacramento State, the law enforcement in the area can really get something out of it.”