Officer Zylawy was born in Versailles, France, and moved to Montana where he graduated from high school in 1986. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Montana State University in 1990 and moved to Oregon the same year, where he became an officer with the Portland Police Bureau.
Officer Zylawy earned the respect of his fellow officers and community members through the way he lived his life – following the values of the Portland Police organization – integrity, compassion, accountability, respect, excellence and service. Officer Zylawy was publicly recognized for his superior police service, receiving 30 commendations, two unit citations, and the Medal of Valor from the Bureau. The “Z Man” was also a dedicated Field Training Officer. Officer Zylawy had a high moral and ethical standard that was apparent in his dedication to his duty as a police officer. He worked every day to improve his organization and to give back to the community he loved. His daily service in Northeast Portland made a lasting and significant impact on the Northeast community and its residents.
Mark was struck by a truck in 2008 after pulling over his vehicle on the side of a Washington State highway. At the time of his death, community members who knew Z-Man and the kind of officer he was, marched near Northeast Precinct to celebrate his life and the tremendous impact he had on the community.
In an effort to honor Officer Zylawy, the Z-Man Scholarship Program was created. The scholarship program is a unique effort which blends donations from Bureau members, community members and corporate sponsors to provide youth full-ride scholarships. Scholarships winners are offered a full-ride at La Salle College Preparatory School and De La Salle North Catholic.