Legacy Snapshots

by Barbara Hart
Leading advocates reflect or recalled Lieutenant Mark Wynn

No one who has heard Lieutenant Mark Wynn’s chilling description of the terror and brutality that his stepfather rained down upon Mark’s mother and her sons will ever forget the shock and fear experienced by the listener. All will recall Mark’s portrayal of his courageous mother, Mary Parrish. All remember the conspiracy of Mark and his brothers to end the violence. The young boys saw no help from law enforcement and concluded that they must kill their stepfather to protect their mother. Having seen bug spray commercials on television, they put bug spray in their stepfather’s beer. They were stunned when the poison did not work. Shortly thereafter, the family was able to make their escape. Mark has been seeking safety and justice for battered women and children ever since.

Mark served on the Nashville Police Department (NPD) for 21 years. He was a key creator of the Domestic Violence Division, one of the first and largest specialized DV investigative units in the country, and served there as sergeant and lieutenant for six years. The 35-member unit investigated 23,000 DV incidents yearly. The DV response protocol and training modules Mark and the team developed have been widely used. His early recognition of stalking by batterers and the elevated risk stalking posed to survivors propelled him to devise a “stalk the stalker” approach to threat management of high risk batterers. He cowrote the 40-hour POST DV /SA training curriculum for law enforcement in Tennessee. At NPD, he worked as a patrol officer and sergeant, crime scene investigator, and homicide detective. Mark distinguishes himself in generous sharing of his time and work product.

Mark is a powerful educator. For more than 25 years, he has traveled to all 50 states and more than 10 countries to train thousands of police executives, patrol officers, dispatchers, prosecutors, judges, legislators, health care professionals, and advocates. From 1987 to 1988, he served as a faculty member for the International Association of Chiefs of Police (lACP) in the first national seminars for police executives on writing and implementing comprehensive DV/SA response protocols. For 23 years, Mark has provided riveting training at the annual DV conference ofthe National College of District Attorneys. He shares his passion, compassion, and humility in every presentation. He is generous with the material he has developed and encourages others to incorporate it in their work.

Mark’s contributions to law and public policy are legend. He has been an advisor to state, national, and international leaders. In 1995, when Congress was considering stripping the budget of millions of dollars from the Violence Against Women Act, President Clinton invited Mark to the White House to deliver a speech on strategies to prevent DV; the funding was saved. In 1998, he was a member of the team selected by the Director of the Office on Violence Against Women for the first US/Russian conference on violence against women. While there, he recommend legislation related to law enforcement response to DV /SA to members of the Russian Duma.

In 2011, Mark informed deliberations of the FBI on revisions to the definition of rape in the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR). In early 2012, Attorney General Eric Holder announced revisions. These changes in statistical reporting by law enforcement will offer a more accurate and complex account of crimes of sexual violence in the U.S.

Mark has been featured in numerous video productions, as well as broadcast and print media. His client list runs to more than a page, single-spaced, small font. His awards are too many to enumerate. However, in 1995 he was selected as one of the top 10 police officers in the U.S. by the IACP’s Police and Parade Magazine, and in 2012 he received the Family Justice Center Alliance Lifetime Achievement Award.

Mark is a board advisor to the Mary Parrish Center for victims of DV and SA, a therapeutic transitional housing program. The center was founded by his wife, Valerie Wynn, in honor of his mother.

Throughout his career, Mark has eloquently spoken his respect for victim advocates. He frequently calls on audiences of criminal justice professionals to remember the advocates who have shaped their vision and practice in the work to end DV /SA. He sincerely and powerfully recognizes advocates as the backbone of the movement to end violence against women. Asked to offer a vision and challenge to law enforcement and other DV/SA professionals, Mark wrote:

The price of indifference is too high. Consider the lives lost each day. In those tragic moments we not only lose countless women and children, we also lose law enforcement officers cut down giving their last full measure of devotion protecting people they most often do not know. We must stop making excuses. We can make change. Otherwise, we collude with the  offender. We should require annual training of law enforcement personnel, civilian and sworn, on sex assault, domestic violence, stalking, elder and child abuse, and human trafficking. Every law enforcement agency must have polices on responding robustly to each manifestation of violence against intimates and family members. Before we hire future police officers, deputy sheriffs or civilian aides, we must inquire about their knowledge, perspective, and personal experience with violence against women and children. Similar inquiry should be repeated through out their careers. Departments should promote only those who have a vibrant vision for ending the violence. DV intervention requires the very best of the privileged professionals called to “serve and protect.”

Enormous thanks for your diligence and inspired leadership, Mark.

National Bulletin on Domestic Violence Prevention – January 2013 – Vol 19l

Posted on: 30 Mar, 2013


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Mark Wynn Consulting   |   info@markwynn.com   |   2500 Murfreesboro Road - Suite 105 - PMB 135   |   Nashville, TN 37217
Phone: (615) 360-3994   |   Fax: (615) 469-0823

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