Retired Missouri State Trooper Jim Martin
Retired Missouri State Trooper Jim Martin still resides in the Cameron area. He was a State Trooper from January 1970 until January of 1998.
Jim began his law enforcement career with the University of Missouri Police Department, followed by time with police department in Boonville, MO. But a childhood dream was realized when he qualified for the 39th Recruit Class and graduated as a Missouri State Trooper. Most of his career was with Troop H, headquartered in St. Joseph, and covering the area surrounding Cameron.
One thing Jim enjoyed about being a Trooper is the fact that every day is a little different. Much of the work is relatively routine, but there are days when things become very intense, very quickly.
On one particular day, he received a call that a driver in a red pickup was driving erratically on I-35, forcing other drivers off the highway. Jim responded and located the suspect, stopping him south of Cameron, near the Wallace State Park exit. The man exited the pickup with a .30-.30 rifle and began shooting. In those days Troopers did not have the protective vests available today. One bullet went through the brim of his Trooper hat, another hit his front bumper, and still another grazed his hand. The man then jumped in his pickup and continued north, exiting at state road BB (near where Cameron Regional Center stands today). The man sped east on BB and pulled into a rural home where the man was taken into custody after some tense moments.
Trooper Martin did fire at the suspect but his .38 was far less effective than the weapon wielded by the suspect. It was this incident which led the State Patrol to issue much more powerful .357’s to troopers. Jim reports that his hand turned black from the impact despite the fact he was only grazed. The suspect received 13 months in prison as a result of the incident. Jim was back on the job the next day.
In 1977, Grundy County Sheriff S.L. Houghton was shot and killed by a 16 year old suspect after the sheriff had taken him home to his mother. While Trooper Martin was not involved in the investigation, he had coffee with Sheriff Houghton that very afternoon at the Winston Truck Stop.
In June of 1981, Daviess County Deputy was shot and killed at a home in Trenton while investigating a domestic call. The assailant fled the scene and Trooper Martin participated in his apprehension at the north Cameron exit off of I-35. The Cameron police Department also participated in the capture.
Martin was also called to a Cameron grocery where an employee was held at gunpoint. Martin knew the suspect and burst into the grocery, causing the suspect to throw his gun down the grocery aisle where it went off, striking no one. The suspect complained to Trooper Martin over the way he “busted in, scaring me”.
Trooper Martin, on two different occasions, arrested suspect for driving a tractor while intoxicated. In another incident he pulled over a woman speeding at 90 miles an hour on I-35. She told him she desperately needed to reach the restroom at the Holt area rest stop and drove away. He followed her, and after she used the restroom, he wrote her a ticket.
Martin also transferred for a while to the Missouri Gaming Commission where he assisted in monitoring the possibility of any criminal activity. That work took him mostly to St. Louis, but also some in Boonville and Kansas City.
Asked about difference between being a Trooper and a Trooper today, Martin commented that there is less respect for law enforcement officers today.
Martin owns a farm north of Cameron and is an avid, and accomplished bow hunter. He is also a well-known taxidermist and has exhibited his work in many competitions. He is married to the former Nancy Griffin from Cameron.