Crime

Aurora Police Officer Julie Stahnke Busted for Alleged Domestic Violence

Officer Julie Stahnke's official Aurora Police Department portrait and a booking photo from last month.
Officer Julie Stahnke's official Aurora Police Department portrait and a booking photo from last month. Aurora Police Department
Officer Julie Stahnke is a nineteen-year veteran of the Aurora Police Department, where her duties previously included diversifying the force through recruitment — an important task, since the APD is operating under a consent decree from the Colorado Attorney General's Office after a report found a pattern and practice of racial bias at the department.

But Stahnke, who last served as a recruiter six years ago, has more pressing issues on her agenda. She's on administrative leave after a domestic-violence arrest and a charge of violating a protection order issued last month in Denver.

Stahnke filed for divorce in July, and just over four months later, on November 22, she was arrested in Denver for allegedly abusing her wife. (Under Colorado law, an arrest must be made if domestic violence is alleged by anyone calling 911.) The arrest document for misdemeanor assault and disturbing the peace states that the women were arguing when Stahnke "intentionally spit on the victim’s face" after grabbing her spouse's arm firmly enough to leave bruises.

On November 23, Stahnke was placed on administrative leave and ordered to surrender any firearms in her possession. Four days later, on November 27, Denver Police personnel busted her again, this time on suspicion of violating a protection order, after she tried to retrieve a vehicle without giving authorities a heads-up first. (Aurora officers aren't required to live in the city.)

An old Aurora Police document titled "Diversity in Policing" that remains online at this writing lists Stahnke is one of two recruiting officers. The doc reads:
The Aurora Colorado Police Department seeks diverse men and women who are morally sound, community oriented, problem solvers from a variety of backgrounds who are ready for a challenging and rewarding career in law enforcement. Our commitment to community service is "To make Aurora safer every day" while maintaining the highest of core values.

The APD employs 665 sworn police officers and 135 civilian employees in various units. Patrol, Investigations, Records, as well as specialized units such as K-9, School Resource Officer, Narcotics, Direct Action Response Team are just a few examples. A starting salary of $52,403 for entry level Police Officers, with a top pay of $79,592 with full health and dental benefits.

You will enter a 26 week paid training academy with a mixture of classroom instruction, physical conditioning and practical skills training. All this is to prepare you as a Police Officer, to conduct a variety of investigations, develop a solid understanding of the law and prepare you for the many challenges that face you as an officer of the law. The APD strives to always maintain a culture of transparency, accountability, a diverse workforce, and to improve workplace efficiency and operation.
Additionally, Stahnke is listed as the recruitment officer contact on a previous version of the APD's "pre-academy fitness guide."

Stahnke is scheduled for a court appearance in Denver today, December 7.

This post has been updated to include details about Julie Stahnke's service as a recruitment officer.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts