by Photo courtesy of San Diego County Sheriff's Department

Kelly A. Martinez officially took office on Monday as the new Sheriff of San Diego County’s Sheriff’s Department. 

Sheriff Martinez officially began her term on Jan.2 at noon, and took her formal oath of office on Dec. 16, becoming the region’s 31st Sheriff. A ceremonial swearing-in event is scheduled on Jan.9. 

"I am honored to have been elected as the next Sheriff of San Diego County," said Martinez in a public statement. "There is no greater responsibility than to be entrusted with the safety of the public. I am committed to fulfilling that obligation and I am grateful for the opportunity. I will continue to carry out my promise to improve San Diego jails, hire and retain staff and keep our communities safe."

Sheriff Martinez has been with the San Diego Sheriff’s Department since 1985, first working as a deputy in county jails. According to the department, her first patrol assignment was in Fallbrook. 

She was an investigator and worked several assignments, including drug and gang enforcement in the North County and the Criminal Intelligence Detail.

As a Sergent, Martinez supervised a patrol team in the City of San Marcos before being selected to supervise investigators in the Criminal Intelligence Detail. She was later assigned to investigate employee misconduct in the Sheriff’s Internal Affairs unit before being promoted to lieutenant. 

She served the cities of Encinitas, Del Mar and Solana Beach, as well as the communities of Rancho Santa Fe and Valley Center.

As a lieutenant, she also oversaw the Sheriff's Department's participation in the Drug Enforcement Administration's Narcotics Task Force. As a captain, Martinez served the community of Alpine and the rural areas of San Diego County. She was later promoted to commander and led the Sheriff's Investigation Units.

Martinez' appointment to Assistant Sheriff put her in charge of the Law Enforcement Services Bureau, which encompasses the Sheriff's patrol operations, investigative units, Regional Crime Laboratory, Communications Center and Emergency Services Division. 

In 2021, Martinez was appointed as the Undersheriff and in that capacity, she was in charge of the day-to-day operations of the Sheriff's Department.

Under her new role as Sheriff, Martinez will lead a department that is responsible for providing law enforcement services to 4,200 square miles of unincorporated San Diego County, nine contract cities, seven jails and security for the courthouses.

She is also responsible for the sheriff’s department’s $1.165 billion budget and more than 4,700 authorized employees. 

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