As commander of the Bartow-Cartersville Drug Task Force, Mayton believes the most important place for him to be is in the trenches alongside his agents. And, make no mistake, Mayton credits the agency's 450 or so arrests each year to the men in the cubicles outside his office.
As he talks about serving search warrants and battling Bartow's drug problem, a cellphone rings incessantly on his desk. He answers only once -- for his daughter.
Mayton talks passionately about his work, becoming animated as he describes the potential he sees among his agents and the problems he wants to see corrected. Only one other subject brings alive this salt-of-the-earth father of three -- Disney World, his favorite place to vacation.
But spare time is rare for Mayton, who leaves the office on this Thursday after 6 p.m. and who routinely fields calls after midnight. Here, he once again gives the credit to someone else, his wife, for making home a safe place for this crusader in the war on drugs.
Name: Mark Mayton
City of residence: Cartersville
Occupation: Bartow-Cartersville Drug Task Force commander
Family: Wife and three daughters
Education: Associate of Science Law Enforcement, FBI National Academy
What is the DTF and how did you come to lead it?
A: The drug task force is comprised of officers from the Bartow County Sheriff's Office and the city of Cartersville Police Department. Our primary mission is the enforcement of illegal drug activity through undercover operations as well as interdiction efforts by our K9 officers. We are also tasked with vice operation, including prostitution, gambling and fugitive apprehension.
We are also very fortunate to have a partnership with the FBI. Our task force has been designated an FBI Safe Streets Task Force, and as a result, we have the ability to arrest and prosecute cases federally through the United States Attorneys Office. Some of the many benefits to the task force, the sheriff's office and police department are that the FBI provides overtime, vehicles, including the fuel, equipment and operational expenses.
After spending many years in the Bartow County Drug Unit, I became the commander of the Bartow Cartersville Drug Task Force upon its inception.
What is your favorite part of your job? Least favorite?
A: [My] favorite [is] working with the people in the task force and other law enforcement agencies
Least favorite [is] having to see what the average person doesn't see almost daily -- the dark side of life or, as a friend of mine says, "looking behind the curtain." While it continues to be one of the most compelling parts of my job, seeing how children are affected by drugs, the environment that it creates and the lives it destroys reminds me frequently why we continue the war on drugs.
How did you become involved in law enforcement?
A: My first step into public safety was as a volunteer firefighter for Bartow County in 1987. A short time later, I started full time as a paramedic for Bartow County Emergency Medical Service. While working as a paramedic I was exposed to the law enforcement community, which seemed like an exciting job. In 1991 I went to mandate school and began my career in law enforcement. I have had a very rewarding career and some great teachers along the way.
Do you feel the DTF has made progress in the battle against drugs in Bartow County?
A: I truly believe that the DTF has made tremendous progress; with six agents, two K9s and two warrant deputies, we average 450 arrests a year. We also have had success targeting the suppliers, which disrupts the flow of illegal drugs into the county. Working with other local, state and federal agencies we are able to attack the problems in Bartow County from multiple angles.
We continue to work with state and federal legislators to create and balance the laws that directly affect the crimes committed in Bartow County, the state of Georgia and the United States.
What do you feel would make the biggest impact on reducing the drug problem in the county and/or this country?
A: Awareness would make the largest impact. It is never too young to start telling our children about the dangers and consequences of illegal drugs. It's unfortunate that we have to have these discussions with our children, but it is the world we live in.
We must give our children the best information to be able to make the right decisions when the time comes. The recovery rate is unfortunately so low for some drugs that the unmistakably best course of action against the addiction is prevention.
What is the best advice you've ever received? What advice do you offer your daughters?
A: For me, listen more than you talk. For my daughters, always tell the truth and do what is right.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: I love gardening and want a greenhouse. I find it very relaxing, and it provides a break from the stresses that accompany law enforcement in general.
What makes Bartow County special?
A: It is continuously changing and growing while maintaining the essence of a small town. I grew up here and I want to see this county thrive, both for me and my family. My continuing desire is to serve this community well in hopes that I will make a positive impact. Ultimately, I would like to be able to say that I left things better than when I started.
A: My barbecue ribs.
What hobbies do you enjoy?
A: Hunting with my daughters, gardening and cooking.