Print page

Wayne M. Durden

Distinguished Alumni December 2007

Wayne M. Durden is the Felony Director for the Polk County State Attorney’s Office, a position he has held since 1992, and has been a prosecutor for 23 years. As Felony Director, he currently oversees thirty Assistant State Attorneys who prosecute felony crimes in six felony divisions, including child abuse, economic crime, drug trafficking, manslaughter, and certain murder cases.

Wayne graduated from Auburndale High School in 1976, and then graduated from Polk State College (then known as Polk Community College) with an A.A. degree in 1977, after receiving CLEP credit for his freshman year courses. Wayne went on to earn his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida in 1979, and his Juris Doctorate from Stetson University College of Law in 1982.

Prior to becoming Felony Director in 1992, Wayne was the Chief of the Child Abuse Division and prosecuted child abuse cases exclusively for four years. During that time he developed a strong concern for children’s issues. He was a member of the local advisory group that started the Children’s Advocacy Center in Bartow, wrote protocols for the Center, and serves as its chair today. The Children’s Advocacy Center provides a single location for alleged victims of child abuse to be interviewed, examined, and receive psychological assistance. Wayne also serves as a member of the Board of Directors and is on the Executive Board of the Florida Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers.

In addition, Wayne was part of a team that won the Davis Productivity Award from Florida Tax Watch in 2004 for their work in the creation of the Rape Recovery and Resource Center in Lakeland. The center provides a compassionate and time sensitive alternative for adult sexual assault victims to be interviewed and examined and to begin psychological treatment. Together, the team created a better way to help rape victims and reduce the load on local emergency rooms and law enforcement, while saving time and taxpayer dollars.

Over the years, Wayne has also prosecuted major economic crimes in Polk County, including multi-million dollar investment scams and school voucher fraud. Wayne resides in Lakeland with his wife Tammy, a Registered Nurse, and his three children, Jennifer 22, Courtney 17, and Matthew 12. Wayne has volunteered as a Youth Motivator and coach for his son’s soccer teams and is a member of the Lakeland Rotary Club. He is also a member of the Florida Bar Association, Lakeland Bar Association, Polk County Trial Lawyers Association, and is President-Elect of the Willson American Inn of Court.