The last 10-7

Ron Burtz
Nancy Martinz fought to control her emotions as she keyed the police radio mic in her National Park Service patrol vehicle the morning of Dec. 31, 2019. It would be her final 10-7 (out of service) call after over 30 years as a federal law enforcement officer. 
Martinz, who has worked at Jewel Cave National Monument for the past four years, was retiring that day because she had reached the mandatory retirement age for her position. 
“I made sure I had something written down that I could actually read,” said Martinz of that last 10-7 call. “It was very tough. I didn’t realize it was gonna be that tough.”
Martinz began full-time work with the park service as a ranger at Yellowstone National Park in 1991. From there she transferred to Mount Rushmore in 2005 where she served as a supervisory park ranger. 
In August 2008 she left the park service for several years to become a patrol captain for the U.S. Forest Service, working out of the forest supervisor’s office in Custer. Then in 2015 Martinz went back to the park service and served as chief ranger at Jewel Cave until her retirement on the last day of 2019. 
Martinz also has a long experience with the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program which is taught to fifth graders. She began teaching the D.A.R.E. curriculum in three schools in Montana while she was at Yellowstone and continued after moving to the Black Hills. She taught one year of the curriculum at Hill City and then was the D.A.R.E. instructor at Custer Elementary until turning the reins over to Custer County deputies about two years ago. 
Martinz says she can’t estimate how many children she has taken through the program, but said her greatest joy was having her two sons go through the program and being there as their instructor. 
“For me that was pretty special,” said Martinz.
Martinz’ oldest son, Cody, is 25 and lives in Bozeman, Mont., and Blake is 21 and a junior at the University of Minnesota at Morris. Her husband, Duane, works at Custer Do It Best and the couple has been married 28 years. Martinz said she is happy to have received the support of her family throughout her career. 
While saying she understands the reason for a mandatory retirement age, Martinz said it is hard to leave a job she has enjoyed so much for so many years. 
“It was tough to leave something I love doing,” she said. “I have always enjoyed going to work. I’ve had an awesome career and I’m very passionate about what I do ... serving the people, protecting the resources.”
Throughout her career, Martinz has also served as a certified emergency technician and has volunteered with Custer Ambulance Service for a number of years. Also, since her years at Yellowstone, she has been a contract guard for the U.S. Marshals Service working on an on-call basis. She plans to continue both for the foreseeable future.  
After calling in to Custer County Dispatch on the morning of New Year’s Eve, Martinz heard the voice of dispatcher Joel Behlings come back over the radio with her Jewel Cave call sign: “Jeca 500, go ahead.”
Taking a deep breath and blowing it out, Martinz spoke into the mic: “After 31 years of service, this will be my final 10-7. (Pause) Thank you for always having my back.” 
Behlings came back on the air with a statement of thanks to Martinz from the sheriff’s office, other agencies and the community for her many years of service. 
Once again keying the mic, Martinz closed the call with the words: “Jeca 500 retired.”

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