Lieutenant Mark Parker Retires From the Sheriff’s Office
(Paulding County, GA) On Friday, January 8, 2021, Lieutenant Mark Parker officially retired from the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an official retirement celebration was unable to be held, but the Deputies and civilian staff at the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office were able to send him away with good wishes from afar.
Lieutenant Parker began his law enforcement career with the Birmingham Police Department (Alabama) in 1978. He worked there until 1989 where he enlisted in the United States Army and was on active duty until 1995, during which time he was deployed to the Middle East for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Lieutenant Parker began his career at the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office on July 16, 1995, as a Detention Officer. During his over 25 year career with the Sheriff’s Office, he served under two different sheriffs.
Lieutenant Parker began his career with the Sheriff’s Office like most, working in our Jail Division. Since he had several years of law enforcement in Alabama and military experience prior to his employment with the Sheriff’s Office, he was quickly sent to Basic Mandate training where he graduated and became a Deputy Sheriff. Lieutenant Parker worked in the Uniform Patrol Division for five years until he formed the Technical Services Unit (Crime Scene Unit) under the direction of then-Sheriff, Bruce Harris (deceased). Lieutenant Parker was responsible for creating and streamlining crime scene processing in our county and acquiring all of the most up to date equipment we needed to process crime scenes.
In April 2001, Lieutenant Parker graduated from Polygraph School and became the first polygrapher at the Sheriff’s Office, where he conducted criminal specific polygraphs only. In 2006, Sheriff Bruce Harris promoted Lieutenant Parker to the rank of Lieutenant where he continued to oversee the Technical Services Unit and the Polygraph Unit. During his time at the Sheriff’s Office, Lieutenant Parker was also responsible for developing a forensic computer investigation unit within his division as well. He attended numerous hours of training and was very skilled when it came to technology. When he retired, Lieutenant Parker oversaw three Detectives in his unit.
In addition to his regular duties, Lieutenant Parker was also a founding member of the Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team where he served as the Sniper Team Leader for a number of years. He was also a founding member of the Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard unit as well.
Sheriff Gary Gulledge stated, “Mark is one of the smartest, most hard-working people I have ever worked with. Without him, this agency would likely not have advanced the way that it has. I am thankful that he had the wherewithal and perseverance to create and operate our Polygraph and Crime Scene Unit with such success for so many years. I wish we could have sent him off with a huge party, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were unable to. Once everything gets back to normal, we will host an official retirement ceremony for him along with several others at a later date. I hope he enjoys time with his family and gets to relax as much as he wants.”
Lieutenant Parker’s law enforcement and military career have spanned over 42 years. During his tenure in law enforcement, he has seen many changes. We want to wish Lieutenant Parker a happy and relaxing retirement. Now he will have plenty of time to enjoy life and spend time with his family.