Mark Hutchinson spent 16 years in law enforcement, serving as Deputy, Sergeant and Chief Deputy for the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department in East Tennessee. He was just 22 when an event forever changed his life. On December 11, 1991, Officer Terry Greg was assaulted by an escaping inmate, who broke his collarbone in a struggle and took his sidearm. When fellow Officer Allen Lipford pulled up to the jail in his patrol car without knowledge of this struggle, the inmate shot and killed him before taking his weapon and magazines from his duty belt and speeding away in his patrol car. When the inmate wrecked the patrol car, Mark was the first one on the scene. He began the search and was joined by over 200 officers from three states, TBI, FBI and the Northeast Correctional Center. After a 36-hour hunt, the murderer was brought in without incident.
Shortly afterward, Mark wrote a song for Allen’s mother called, “They Will Be Remembered” in Allen’s honor. The University of Tennessee partnered with Mark to produce a police memorial video, which was used nationally for training purposes, police memorial events and funerals. Upon viewing the video, the National Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation invited Mark to perform the song in 1995 at the Candlelight Vigil during Police Memorial Week in Washington, D.C.
Realizing the impact the song had made, Mark wrote another called the “Thin Blue Line,” and again, the University of Tennessee produced a police memorial video to accompany the song. Over the ensuing years he wrote more songs, including “Unforgotten Heroes of the Badge” and “They Gave It All.” He was invited to perform his songs at numerous events, including the candlelight vigil ceremony, the dedication of the Law Enforcement Memorial at the Tennessee state capitol building in Nashville, the National Police Memorial Ceremony’s FOP event on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol, and Police Memorial Week’s opening ceremony for Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS). Throughout his career as a police officer, Mark continued to write songs in honor of fallen officers and share the music with police agencies and families throughout the country.
In 2010, Mark left law enforcement to start a company whose name and mission would honor fallen officers. After many lengthy discussions with law enforcement officers, he chose the name Blue Line Solutions. Since then, the company has consistently given back by supporting many police memorial functions – everything from donating police memorial monuments to be placed in front of city halls to sponsoring memorial banquets to supporting the Unity Tour Ride during Police Memorial Week.
Allen’s memory continues to drive Mark and the company, which sponsors an annual event in his honor. In 2018, Mark joined Allen’s daughter and fellow Sheriff’s Department members in attending the first parole hearing for Allen’s murderer. After they expressed that he deserved to remain behind bars for the rest of his life for destroying so many lives, parole was denied.
No matter what the future holds for the companies Mark owns, his first focus will always be to bring honor to those who have given their lives in the line of duty. His efforts will forever seek to shine a light on the heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives.
We were proud to serve as main sponsor of the Back the Blue Celebration held in Columbus, Georgia, in 2020.
For Police Memorial Week 2019, COPS asked Mark to perform a song that he wrote honoring fallen officers.
Shown here: Mark Hutchinson and Susie Sawyer, Founder of C.O.P.S.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member Willie Kitchens (center) joined Mark (left) and Darrell Kelly in performing the National Anthem along with two of Mark’s songs honoring fallen officers.
Fellow officer Allen Lipford’s name etched on the Police Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.
Proceeds from the annual car show we support in honor of Officer Allen Lipford are dedicated to scholarships in his name.
We sponsored this community event honoring all fallen service members and police officers wounded in the terrorist event that occurred on June 16, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
BLS supports various Policy Unity Tour rides each year throughout the country.
We sponsored several riders from Police Unity Tour Chapter 10, which rides from New Jersey to Washington, D.C., during Police Memorial Week to raise money for the National Police Memorial
On May 16, 2022, BLS joined the Police Academy in sponsoring a dedication of adding Officer Michael Chandler’s name to the Academy Memorial Wall. Members of dozens of police agencies from the region attended the event to pay respect to Officer Chandler and pay honor for his sacrifice. He was killed in the line of duty on Nov 13, 2021 on his 29th birthday.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member, Willie Kitchens joined Mark Hutchinson to perform the National Anthem and one of Mark’s songs at the opening ceremony in 2019.
Mark wrote this song for the mother of Allen Lipford to pay honor to her son. It was performed at the Candlelight Vigil in Washington, D.C. during Police Memorial Week.
Mark wrote this song, also performed at the Candlelight Vigil in Washington, D.C., and produced the video with Sherry Riley at the University of Tennessee’s Center for Telecommunications & Video.
Written by Mark Hutchinson and Joseph Gordon, this song features Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member Willie Kitchens singing “Glory, Glory Hallelujah” at the end.