Kelly Martinez becomes first female Undersheriff in San Diego County

Written by Joey Brasil

Following the retirement of Undersheriff Mark Barnett, Assistant Sheriff Kelly Martinez has been promoted to the position by Sheriff Bill Gore. She has officially become the first woman to hold the position. 

“It’s exciting, I think, for the women in our department, but also the women in the region,” she said in an interview.

Martinez was a member of the regional law enforcement agency for 36 years. She started as a Sheriff’s Deputy, working at the Descanso and Las Colinas detention facilities. Later, in 1988, she was assigned to the Fallbrook Sheriff’s Substation as a Patrol Deputy. After being promoted to Sergeant in 2007, she worked her way all the way up to Assistant Sheriff in 2017.

She has substantial experience from her numerous endeavors over the last three decades. 

Sheriff Bill Gore made his confidence in Martinez clear after appointing her to the position. 

“Kelly brings to the position exceptional work ethic and commitment to the mission of the department,” he said in a statement. “I am confident her wealth of experience and passion for community outreach will keep San Diego the safest urban county in the nation.”

He further claimed that he is certain that Martinez’s experience and passion for serving the community will ensure that San Diego County keeps its nationally regarded reputation for safety. The risks that come with working in law enforcement bring out the courage and resilience in deputies and officers. Martinez’s tenure of 36 years in law enforcement clearly represents her desire to protect the citizens of San Diego county. 

The County Sheriff’s Department protects over 1,000,000 people across 9 cities and 4,500 square miles. The department also operates a network of jails and crime labs and also provides security for seven of the county’s court facilities.

Photo via San Diego County Sheriff’s Department