JEANERETTE — A former patrol officer and lieutenant with 16 years of law enforcement is hoping that firsthand experience in the daily trenches will help him prevail in the race for Jeanerette city marshal.

Fernest “Pac-Man” Martin, 39, has announced his candidacy for the city marshal. The seat is currently being held by Stephen Falterman.

“I am not running for city marshal because Pac-Man wants to run,” Martin said. “I have always had a vision of the people of Jeanerette, I have always had a desire for the change of the community, and currently I think this is one of the areas of Jeanerette that needs changes.”

Martin said if he is elected as the next city marshal of Jeanerette, he plans to implement several programs to help out at-risk children and troubled adults.

“If someone is incarcerated and has no education or job skill, I am going to get them the help they need so when they get out of jail they will have the necessary tools to become a productive citizen,” he said. “This is one of the programs I helped implement when I was the president of SMILE Head Start Policy Council. We had a collaboration with the community college in New Iberia and the people went to school for free.

“The people of Jeanerette understand my track record and they know what I stand for,” he said. “I am fair to everyone and I have an obligation to enforce the law. When I worked on the staff of the Jeanerette Police Department for a number of years, a number of people told me how much of an impact I made. It feels good when people tell me, ‘Pac-Man, I can sleep easy at night because I know you are in the city.’ ”

For the past two years, Martin has served as the master drill instructor at Lee Street Alternative School. Before that, he was a correctional officer with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office, a patrol officer for the Broussard Police Department and a school resource officer for the Iberia Parish school system.

He is a member of Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church and Mason Ever Green Lodge.

During his tenure in law enforcement Martin also has picked up several certifications.

Some of those certifications include a graduate of Acadiana Law Enforcement Training Academy, Patrol Officer Response to Street Narcotics, Suicide Prevention/Management of Mental Health Emergencies and Federal Bureau of Prisons.

“It’s time for a change in the city of Jeanerette,” Martin said. “The people of Jeanerette deserve this, and I believe I am the one to help start the change.”

Martin is married to Mary Jones-Martin. Whenever he has some free time, he loves spending it with his family, which includes his daughters Alistaire Harris, Cecilia Rochon, Brea Rochon, Emily Jones, Logan Martin, his two sons Fernest Martin and Farris Martin and his four grandchildren.

Qualifying for the Oct. 4 election is July 9-11.

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