Kingsport Police Department Det. Justin McConnell receives the Mark Vance Memorial Award from Sullivan County District Attorney Gen. Barry Staubus in a ceremony Thursday in Blountville. Photo by David Grace
A Kingsport detective has won an award for his work in combating domestic violence.
Justin McConnell was presented the Mark Vance Memorial Award in a ceremony at the Sullivan County Courthouse on Thursday. The award is given every year by the District Attorney’s front line domestic violence task force.
“I am very honored to have received the award,” McConnell said. “I’ve always believed in being very thorough in the investigation and aggressively prosecuting these type of cases, just for the simple fact that they’re a real problem and we have real victims who get abused in this type of situation.”
The Mark Vance Memorial Award was named after a Bristol, Tenn. police officer who was shot and killed responding to a domestic violence call on November 27, 2004.
Each year the Front Line Domestic Task Force presents the award to a local law enforcement officer who has gone above and beyond to assist them with the prosecution of domestic abusers.
Officers from Kingsport Police Department, Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office and the Bristol Police Department were nominated.
Some of the criteria for being nominated includes officers who not only respond to the calls, but also work the call in such a way that they can be successfully prosecuted, someone who can handle an emotional situation, thinks on their feet, someone sensitive to the environment and victims, someone who thinks about the small details and finally someone who can obtain the trust of the victim.
McConnell started as a patrol officer with the KPD in 2006. Before he became an officer with the department, he was a police explorer with the SCSO. He is also an Eagle Scout. As an officer with KPD, he continues to be involved with the explorer program.
October is domestic violence awareness month. Last year, the District Attorney General’s office handled 2,100 cases of domestic violence, nearly 25 to 30 percent of all case loads, according to District Attorney General Barry Staubus.
Staubus reviewed all the nominees and spoke with people who had worked with McConnell.
“From his work, he has shown a tremendous amount of professionalism,” Staubus said. “He has exhibited the kind of attention to detail that is necessary in domestic violence cases. He has displayed a conscientious concern for victims in domestic violence cases.”