Two Collier County sheriff’s deputies speak on going from military to law enforcement

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson
Published: Updated:
Collier County Sheriff's Office badge (WINK News)
Credit: WINK News

They fought on the front lines, now they are fighting to protect their community. Sheriff’s deputies Lt. Rich Hampton and Lt. Gary Martin are both military veterans.

“Everything that you go out and do as an individual impacts,” Martin said.

The two are members of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office. In fact, 30% of the sheriff’s office is made up of military veterans.

Lt. Gary Martin (WINK News)

It’s all a part of a growing trend.

“It’s not just a job for them,” Martin said.

Guarding the front lines of your community after protecting the battlegrounds abroad.

“A lot of us have served in the military,” Martin said.

Hampton proudly wears his CCSO badge.

Lt. Rich Hampton (WINK News)

“I grew up here on Marco Island and my dream my whole life was to be a Collier County deputy,” he said. ”I went in the Air Force because I was too young to be a law enforcement officer in the county.”

Hampton spent 14 years in the Air Force holding his dream close to his heart.

“For the first five years of active duty, I served as a security policeman in the Air Force,” he said. ”Spent some time in the Middle East.”

Martin says he had a similar journey that led him here.

”My last trip was to Afganastan in 2013,” he said. “You understand how rank works, how direction works, what it’s like to be part of a team.”

Sheriff Kevin Rambosk recently created the Military Service Award to honor the nearly 300 vets who work for the sheriff’s office.

“We always look for that philosophy of service to others before self and community safety service,” he said.

Keeping us safe then and now.

Rambosk says he hopes to inspire more veterans to find a calling in law enforcement.

Both the Lee County Sheriff and Florida Highway Patrol say they have a significant number of veterans.

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