Archive for Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lawrence police officer promoted to detective, will specialize in domestic violence cases

Lawrence Police officer Mike Verbanic was promoted to detective on Wednesday, Jan. 19. In his new position, Verbanic will primarily investigate domestic violence cases.

January 19, 2011


Lawrence Police officer Mike Verbanic, left, was promoted to the rank of detective by Tarik Khatib, Lawrence’s interim police chief, on Wednesday at the police department’s Investigations and Training Center, 4820 Bob Billings Parkway.

Lawrence Police officer Mike Verbanic, left, was promoted to the rank of detective by Tarik Khatib, Lawrence’s interim police chief, on Wednesday at the police department’s Investigations and Training Center, 4820 Bob Billings Parkway.

As a police officer Mike Verbanic knows domestic violence can carry a stigma.

“Unfortunately, it’s something that sometimes happens behind the scenes. It’s not something that’s talked about a lot,” he said.

In his new job, Verbanic will focus on helping those victims who might not feel comfortable coming forward.

Tarik Khatib, Lawrence’s interim police chief, on Wednesday promoted Verbanic to detective, a job in which he will primarily investigate domestic violence cases. The department recently received a grant for the position.

“I think the department has a very important opportunity to do a lot of good work and assist this group of victims that we’re talking about,” Verbanic said. “I take that opportunity very seriously, and I look forward to working not only with everyone in this room and this department but with other agencies.”

A leader with one of those agencies said she was thrilled with the creation of the position.

“The more experienced professionals providing these services the better,” said Audra Fullerton, director of community engagement for the Willow Domestic Violence Center.

The department and Douglas County District Attorney’s Office received the grants from the federal STOP Violence Against Women Act administered through the governor’s office. Funding allowed the department to promote Verbanic from patrol officer to detective. An outside person will be hired to fill his patrol position.

District Attorney Charles Branson said his office hopes to announce the hire of a new domestic violence prosecutor in coming weeks.

“(Verbanic) is a great officer, and I think he will make a great detective. We’re looking forward to working with him,” Branson said.

Police have said that officers in 2009 investigated 975 domestic disturbance calls, plus 71 rapes and 598 incidents of domestic battery. Police and prosecutors have said the cases are often complicated to prosecute because victims and suspects have some type of ongoing relationship, unlike with most other crimes.

Verbanic, who grew up in the Kansas City area, came to Lawrence in 1991 and graduated from Kansas University with a biology degree. His twin brother, Steve Verbanic, is also a patrol officer. Mike Verbanic started as a Lawrence officer in 1998 and worked for two years beginning in 2005 as a juvenile crime investigator.

“He really developed a reputation as a tenacious investigator,” Khatib said.

Verbanic said his new job would be difficult but he was excited about the opportunity.

“It’s going to be my goal to maintain contact with those victims,” he said. “And to make sure that we are staying in constant contact with them during the process.”


ralphralph 7 years, 3 months ago

"Grant Money" = "Magic Money", picked from the ever-blossoming Obamaberry Tree.

ralphralph 7 years, 3 months ago

Point - It's good to see PD resources put into investigating real crime, rather than fishing for funds by having Click-It-or-Ticket gestapo weekends and such.

Question - How long is the grant period? These things have a history of being set up to give you "free money" to start a program that the pols in DC want to promote, getting you up and running, then pulling the funds after a couple years in hopes you will keep it going and pay for it yourselves.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 3 months ago

Bring out your dead (horses)! Bring out your dead (horses)!

he_who_knows_all 7 years, 3 months ago

I'm calling it a tie.

Merrill & Smitty cut and paste the same number of times.

lucky7brand 7 years, 3 months ago

I hope this includes spotting children in abusive homes. I've seen too many times where children who get reported on or the police called are lying about the abuse to protect themselves from another beating if they tell. There are parents who are so cunning and persuasive that the police or social workers do not believe the child. What special training does Verbanic have or will he get? I'm not sure how this position is any different than a position that is already in law enforcement. A friend of mine just dealt with SRS (reporting the other parent) with older children that has been betrayed by the system (SRS and the police) many times when they told what happened. They were silent for many years after the last report to the police and SRS. Because each time an adult who cared enough and knew, but couldn't prove the abuse, reported it, it was found unsubstantiated each time. The children found that they were left in the home for many more years of abuse and did not trust the system. When they got older and braver and felt that they would surely not be betrayed again, they sought help. And once again, they were betrayed. The SRS social worker found the abuse unsubstantiated for the umpteen time. If the children were not old enough to refuse to go back, and have a safe place to go, the abuse would still be happening. I just hope that this new position will make an difference in Lawrence for women and children. As far as therapy for any abuser that's a joke. Jail time makes them madder. But I bet a good taste of their own medicine would do wonders.

missmagoo 7 years, 3 months ago

598 domestic battery cases is just ridiculous. It's a shame and so so very sad.

douglascounty 7 years, 3 months ago

Very true... and those are just the ones being reported. The actual number, I'm sure, would be staggering.

butrflkisz 7 years, 3 months ago

I have been involved in repeated DV cases. Mike was one of two officers I have dealt with that has cared enough to help. He was compassionate, understanding and listened when nobody else would. I have been out of my domestic environment for several months now and I couldn't have asked for a better officer. I am very pleased to see him being promoted and I think he will do an amazing job!

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