Police Week 2020 Spotlight: Lt. Mark Bowen

By DLA Aviation Public Affairs Office

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As part of National Police Week observances, Defense Logistics Agency Aviation and DLA Installation Management at Richmond spotlight Lt. Mark Bowen, who selflessly secures and protects Defense Supply Center Richmond, its people and our neighbors every day.

According to policeweek.org, President John F. Kennedy designated May 15, 1962 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. This year National Police Week is celebrated May 10-16 with events honoring police officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to serve and protect our nation’s communities.

1. Name: Mark Bowen

2. How long have you been in law enforcement? I’ve been in law enforcement for approximately 35 years, including 11 years as a military police officer in the Marine Corps and 21 years with the Chesterfield County, Virginia Police Department. I retired from Chesterfield in 2017 and have been with DLA Police Department for almost three years.

3. What made you decide to go into law enforcement and public service? I have always been a protector of those who cannot defend themselves, a voice for those who can’t speak. From a young age, I always had the instinct to look out for people who needed help. With service to my country and my community, law enforcement and public service have always been, and will always be, part of my life.

4. What is your most memorable event from your job as a police officer? Albeit also the most tragic, the most memorable event in my job as a police officer was the loss of my friend and fellow Chesterfield County Police Officer Gary J. Buro, who was killed in the line of duty on May 4, 2006. That’s why Police Week, remembering and honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, means so much to me and my family,

5. What is your greatest achievement on the job? My greatest achievement on the job has been training younger officers who have been recognized as "Rookie of the Year," "Officer of the Year” or who have gotten promoted. My legacy of protecting and serving others in the community lives on through their hard work.

6. What’s the most rewarding thing about being a police officer? Some of my most rewarding cases have involved getting people connected to the right resources to get the help they needed. Helping children that had suffered through physical and mental trauma were some of my toughest cases, but also the most rewarding. Watching my first DLA recruit officer who I trained, excel in his career, has also been very rewarding.

7. Have you had any mentors in your career? If so, how have/did they help? Over my 35-year career, I have been fortunate to have had many influential mentors. I have learned so much from supervisors who were knowledgeable and fair. Mentors that lead by example are the best leaders any agency can have. I’ve had great supervisors that developed me into the person/officer I am today. Chief Katz, from Chesterfield PD, who’s been mentoring me for the last few years taught me to “be a better version of yourself today, then you were yesterday.” That’s the philosophy I instill into my officers each day. You can easily do the right thing when people are watching you; however, it shows how much character you have when you can do the right thing when no one is watching you.

8. How do you define excellence (as related to being a law enforcement officer)? Excellence in the field of law enforcement, by my definition, includes working efficiently and fairly. The agency’s mission sets the goals for the officers to meet. Excellence in law enforcement involves teamwork that strives for those common goals.

9. What makes for a great day on the job? A great day on the job is one where everyone goes home safely at the end of a shift during which the community's needs for safety and security have been successfully met. You get to help someone through a difficult time or crisis, they hug you, then thank you for it. 

10. What would you say to someone to encourage them to go into public service? Law enforcement isn't just a job or career, it's a way of life, a life choice.  No two days are ever the same.  If you enjoy helping others, law enforcement gives you that opportunity every day.

11.  As a police officer, how has your workload been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic? The COVID-19 pandemic has really heightened my awareness of safety protocols. It has taught me not to take simple things for granted. It reminds me that we are only promised the day that we are currently living. I still engage with the community as much as possible, but having to take the extra precautions for health safety has taught me new skills to pass onto future police officers I will train.