As a Snohomish County prosecutor, Mark Roe worked countless cases and sent more than his share of bad guys to jail.
But when he looks back on his accomplishments over the past 31 years, the one he takes the most pride in was not handled in a courtroom. It's the creation of the Dawson Place Child Advocacy Center.
The center helps thousands of child victims of neglect and abuse navigate the legal system. Roe and his wife, Lisa, were instrumental in helping get the non-profit built back in 2006.
"Before this, these children would get shuffled all over town," said Roe. "Here, everything is under one roof. They already had something bad happen to them, the least we can do is not make it worse."
Among Dawson's many success stories is Ivy Jacobsen. Her father abused her as a child.
Roe helped put Jacobsen’s father in prison, and Dawson gave Jacobsen and her family the strength they needed to get through it all.
"Mark showed us that he believed in us and we were going to get through the battle of being free and seeing what freedom was going to be like for our family," said Jacobsen.
Over the course of his career, the past nine of which were spent as Snohomish County's top prosecutor, Roe earned a reputation as a tough lawman and straight shooter. He is a no-nonsense guy who hates wearing a tie and is quick to credit others for his accomplishments.
Roe calls Lisa, his wife of 25 years, one of his heroes. As a fellow prosecutor, she has shared the stresses of the job.
"We tried to keep work and home separate. We were only supposed to talk about work to and from the office," said Roe. "Inevitably, we'd eat dinner, put the kids to bed and end up going over our cases because we felt like the community was counting on us. I wish we had been better at keeping the two separate."
After a recent health scare suffered by her husband, Lisa wrote him a letter. He keeps it framed in his office, not far from the blood pressure monitor he uses twice a day. Earlier this year, Roe concluded that it was time for a change.
"We see the worst of humanity. It's like the greatest hits of the worst of people. I'm ready to take a little vacation," says Roe. "I'm incredibly proud of the work Lisa, and I have done over the years. I believe we've done it well, but it has taken a toll."
After a career spanning three decades, Roe says he never really won a single case. He feels that way because he can't erase the harm done to so many victims.
But through Dawson, there are victories -- victories like Ivy Jacobsen who is now a Bothell police officer.
"I am so grateful to be able to give back to my community, and I couldn't have done it without Mark and the people at Dawson," said Jacobsen.
"On our prosecutorial tombstones, I hope it reads, 'Mark and Lisa had some small part in a much bigger effort to see to it that kids got treated better,'" said Roe. "I would be pleased with that."
Roe’s last day on the job is December 21, 2018.