'Big Bro' Chicago Police Officer Sees Teen Off to College

Aug. 11, 2023
Five years ago, Chicago Police Officer William Martinez became a mentor and later a friend to Devin Watson, and he was there to help the teen as he headed to Monmouth College on a scholarship.

When Devin Watson was in the seventh grade, he participated in a three-month mentorship program sponsored by the Chicago Police Department. That's how he met Officer William Martinez.

The two remained close after the program ended, and Martinez and Watson developed a friendship that's lasted five years.

"He always said, 'Mom, I'm going to hang with my mentor,'" Quincola Collins told WBBM-TV. "I was like, 'Who's your mentor?' He said, 'He's a police officer.' I said that was perfect because he lost his father when he was five years old, so he needed a mentor. He needed that guidance."

Now, Watson is attending Monmouth College in western Illinois on an academic scholarship, and Watson was there—along with officers from the 15th District, where he's commander—to help Watson pack for the next step in his journey. Martinez and his family also joined Watson and his relatives on the three-hour trip to the school.

"Me and Devin built up we're family," said Martinez. "A lot of youth here, it isn't just an Officer Will. I'm Will, whatever you need me to be, if that's an uncle, that's a cousin, that's a friend."

Having a police officer as a friend was certainly strange to Watson's friends. But Watson was quick to dispel any stereotypes or misgivings they had.

"I had to explain to them he's more than a cop," said Watson. "He's also a person. He gotta take the uniform off eventually. I had to explain that being around him, he's more like a homie than a cop 90% of the time."

And according to Collins, the tight relationship Watson and Martinez developed over the years was a godsend for her son.

"That was the best thing that could've happened," she said.

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