Rock Island County Sheriff
FRANCISCO CRUZ “Keko” MARTINEZ candidate for Rico County Sheriff. Follow him on Facebook: Elect Keko
I was born and raised in Sterling, Illinois and graduated from Sterling High School. For 20 years my wife Kathy and I have lived on the Illinois side of the Quad Cities. We have four children – Keko II, Beth, Gabe, Ricky, and my granddaughter- Aleah Jane.
My paternal grandfather, Francisco Martinez, was a migrant worker from San Benito, Texas. My maternal grandfather- Cruz T. Sierra, an immigrant from Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico, was President of the Sterling Latin American Social Club and President of the Illinois Migrant Counsel. Upon arriving in Illinois, both grandfathers’ families lived in railroad boxcars until their hard work and hope in the American Dream paid off, allowing them to afford a home. Their hard work made an indelible impact and influence on my life. My grandfather and father were active members of the United Steel Workers Union at Northwestern Steel & Wire Company in Sterling, IL.
In high school I was an avid athlete. After graduation, I entered the United States Marine Corps spending 13 years on active duty and 13 years in the Marine Corps Reserves. I served my local community for 13 years in Kansas City and the Quad City area Toys For Tots programs. I’m a retired Marine Master Gunnery Sergeant (E9) and decorated Desert Storm war veteran. I’m currently volunteering as the (unofficial) Chaplin for the Marine Corps Reserves.
In 1996, I entered law enforcement in both city and federal capacities. As a federal Police Officer, I was selected to participate as a Special Reaction Team member (Sniper) and later served as the International Brotherhood of Police Officers (IBPO) Union President.
In pursuit of further education, I set aside my law enforcement career and served as a Security Officer, later Lead and Chief Security Officer. I am a graduate from Bible Missionary Institute in Rock Island, Illinois, where I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Education with a minor in theology. I was assigned by the Marine Corps as a Religious Lay Reader and obtained from my denomination, a Local Preacher’s and Exhorter’s License. My ministries include Jail, Homeless Shelter, Revival, Military Liaison, Bible Study, Sunday School Teacher and van Driver.
During my 26 years in the Marine Corps, I successfully completed numerous leadership and management courses--both civilian and military. In the Corps, I was an Inspector/Instructor, Logistics, Training, and Security Chief and filled positions of responsibility above my pay grade.
As a Lead and Chief Security Officer, I completed training including, but not limited to, handling aggressive and non-aggressive mental health patients, PTSD individuals, Use of Force, verbal Judo, personnel evaluation, Department of Homeland Security FEMA Disaster Emergency Management, workplace OSHA requirements, “Less Lethal” arms instruction, and International Association of Healthcare Safety and Security Supervisor Level training.
My desire to improve morale resulted in instituting Marine and NCO of the Quarter and Year as well as Security Officer of the Year. One of my longest and consistent qualities is that I always left my areas and positions of responsibility better off than when I first started there.
If you would like to meet our next County Clerk, Russell Christ, click here