Head of training at DPS arrested for allegedly falsifying qualifications to get promoted

Martinez has been in charge of training thousands of state law enforcement officers for years. Now, she is accused of lying to get to a promotion.
Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 11:29 AM HST|Updated: Apr. 7, 2022 at 6:13 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A state employee who oversaw the training of thousands of state law enforcement officers has been arrested for allegedly falsifying information to get promoted.

J. Marte Martinez, head of training at the state Department of Public Safety, has faced scrutiny for years about her qualifications. HNN reported on her questionable resume and college transcripts in 2019.

Martinez was hired by DPS in September 2014 and advanced quickly within the department.

Each time, she had to submit new documents during the promotions process.

Hawaii News Now obtained those documents in 2019 and found questionable information regarding her education and experience.

One of her resumes listed a bachelor’s degree from Southern Oregon University. But in an email, the school’s enrollment office said there was no record of her getting that degree.

Martinez is charged with two counts of perjury, a felony crime, for her testimony before the Hawaii Labor Relations Board in December 2019.

Hawaii News Now cameras recorded the hearing in which Martinez, under oath, answered questions regarding her education and school transcripts.

On video she also claimed to have degrees from El Dorado College, a college she referred to as NOVA, or Northern Virginia University.

Questioning her at that hearing was attorney Ted Hong, who represented a fired prison guard. Hong said the guard wasn’t properly trained because Martinez was not qualified.

Hong said Martinez’s arrest Thursday reflects on the previous leadership at the Department of Public Safety under then Director Nolan Espinda.

“Had they done what they were supposed to do, in terms of due diligence with respect to her credentials, had they done that, we wouldn’t be here,” Hong said.

Espinda retired suddenly, one year into a new term in October 2020.

Martinez is also charged with tampering with a government record and lying to authorities.

In a statement, the current DPS Director Max Otani said, “The Department of Public Safety holds their employees regardless of rank or title to the highest standard of integrity and will hold them accountable if they breach the public’s trust.”

Martinez’s attorney, Myles Breiner, said his client was aware of the investigation three years ago and said she offered cooperation.

“Offered to provide polygraph statements, offered meetings, all that was rejected by the state,” said Breiner, who was not happy that the agents with the Attorney General’s office arrested her at her office.

Breiner said she was willing to self-surrender but they were never given the option.

He added they will fight the charges. Martinez is free after posting $11,000 bail.

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