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Perez Plans Retirement After Decades Of Service
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Riverbank Police Services Records Clerk Martha Perez, center, was recognized at a city council meeting previously for service to the Riverbank community and is shown here with former Riverbank Police Services Chief Erin Kiely, left, and Mayor Richard O’Brien at a special presentation in her honor. After spending some time at the main office with the sheriff’s department, Perez returned to Riverbank to close out her career and will soon retire. File Photo

This will be the final week for Martha Perez at Riverbank Police Services after 34 years of service to law enforcement and the community. Retirement is bittersweet for Perez, as she has built many relationships within the community but is ready to turn the page into a new chapter filled with family.

“I will miss them (co-workers and community),” said Perez. “I have been blessed with everybody that I have had the chance to work with. I am sad but at the same time it is a new chapter in my life and it is my family; that is a blessing in itself. We are excited.”

Perez has experienced many things throughout her time with the Riverbank Police Department and the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department. There have been six different Chiefs that she has worked with through the years and she said she has learned something from each of them.

“Martha has been a staple with Riverbank PD and Riverbank Police Services,” stated RPS Chief Ed Ridenour. “She has been with the Sheriff’s office for 26 years since Riverbank was incorporated as a contract city; the majority of that time was spent in Riverbank.”

Her career began on Feb. 16, 1987 for the Riverbank Police Department as a Records Clerk. At that time Chief McBride was running the department and he was the first Chief that she worked for. Her husband Frank Perez applied for a Police Officer position and after the interview told her about an opening for a clerk at the department. Although she was not looking for a job she applied for it and the rest is history. Frank originally did not get the position but six months later he got the job as a police officer.

“I was there eight years before it turned into the Sheriff’s Department in 1995,” stated Perez. “It (PD) was good. We did things a lot different. We were responsible for all the record keeping. We ran everything from regular work to warrants.”

During her time with the police department Perez shared that they were a close knit family and would have picnics, dinners, and spend many functions together.

The city contracted with the Sheriff’s Department in 1995 and became a substation known today as Riverbank Police Services. Perez recalls several changes that were made at that time including positions and pay.

In February 2015 Perez was recognized for her service to the Riverbank community by Chief Erin Kiely and the City Council as she transitioned to the Sheriff’s main office. She worked at the main office for a few years and then made the rotation back to RPS four years ago.

“When I went to the main office I didn’t know any of them,” expressed Perez. “In a way if you think of the positive and not the negative I wouldn’t have met all these wonderful ladies. They work so hard. It is hard working over there. It is a 24/7 office with weekends and holidays. It is very busy and they do an awesome job.”

With the Sheriff’s Department, Perez was promoted to Supervisor and she was involved with several programs including the Bike Rodeo and Shop with a Cop.

A highlight for her through the years has been when parents have approached her and expressed their appreciation for being selected for Shop with a Cop and that their kids will never forget it or when she was able to assist the public.

“I remember working with Martha in Riverbank in the early 2000’s,” noted Ridenour. “It was a welcome sight to have her on the team when I became Police Chief in 2020. Martha has a tremendous knowledge in the law enforcement field and has an excellent relationship with City staff. She has done a good job making sure Riverbank Police Services is in a great position moving forward. I want to thank Martha for her years of service and we wish her the best of luck in retirement.”

Taking pride in her service to the community it was always important to have excellent communication with the public so they understood the situation completely.

“Not just with the programs but people know I am there,” remarked Perez. “It took a long time to get that rapport with them. They come in and a lot of them don’t know the laws that we have. We are there to educate them. If you explain it then they understand. I will miss that part too, the community.”

The timing was just right to retire, Perez explained, and that it was important to go full circle as she began her career in Riverbank and wanted to end it in Riverbank.

For retirement the plans are to travel with her husband and take care of her grandchildren. Her daughter has a child due at the end of September and she couldn’t be more excited. She has four children, 11 grandchildren and at the end of the month there will be 12. Martha and Frank have been married for 38 years and have known each other since they were 12 and 13 years old.

She added, “My husband and I are going to take some trips. We have never really traveled because I have always been working. We do everything together. We will be traveling but our main focus is our grandchildren. People think I am crazy but I want to be there and watch my grandchildren. For me that is so important. My husband and I were blessed that we had my parents and his grandparents that took care of our kids.”

When asked what she will miss the most Perez said all the people that she has met through the years, all the ladies that she worked with, teaching and helping others.