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Aurora officer retires after being notified that she would be fired

Julie Stahnke had been with APD since 2002. She was convicted last year of violating a protection order.

AURORA, Colo. — An Aurora Police Department officer who was convicted late last year of violating a restraining order recently retired from the department just before she was going to be fired.

An Aurora Police spokesperson said Julie Stahnke had been given written notice April 28 that interim Police Chief Art Acevedo intended to fire her. On May 1, Stahnke filed paperwork to retire from the department in lieu of termination, an APD spokesperson said.

Stahnke – a 20-plus year veteran with Aurora Police – was under investigation by APD's Internal Affairs Bureau when she was charged in November 2021 with assault and disturbing the peace after a dispute involving her estranged spouse. At the time, the two were in the middle of a divorce, according to court documents.

After her arrest, a judge ordered Stahnke to relinquish any firearms she possessed, to stay away from her spouse and to seek police assistance if she needed to get any of her belongings from the home where the couple were living.

Stahnke was placed on paid administrative leave following her arrest.

Days later, Stahnke was arrested again, by Denver Police, after she went to the home she and estranged spouse shared to retrieve a vehicle without first notifying police, as she had been ordered to do. She was charged with violating a court order in that case.

Credit: Denver Police Department
Julie Stahnke

According to court documents, the original domestic violence case was dismissed in April 2022.

The case involving the restraining order was scheduled for trial – and then delayed – three times before Denver County Court Judge Barry Schwartz heard it in November 2022.

He found Stahnke guilty and imposed a year of supervised probation, a domestic violence evaluation and treatment. He left in place a protection order that prohibited her from possessing, purchasing or controlling a gun.

Stahnke spent 10 months on administrative leave before she returned to work in a non-enforcement role, 9Wants to Know investigator Kevin Vaughan learned last year. Stahnke was reassigned to the department's vehicle impound unit in October 2022, according to an APD spokesperson. 

About two weeks ago, the Aurora Police Department's Internal Affairs Bureau presented the findings of its investigation to Acevedo, who placed Stahnke on paid administrative leave and advised her that he planned to fire her.

Stahnke's pre-disciplinary hearing was scheduled for last Tuesday, but a little more than an hour before that hearing, she submitted a written notice of retirement.

She is still certified to be a police officer in Colorado, according to state records.

This article includes reporting by 9NEWS reporter Matt Jablow and 9Wants to Know's Kevin Vaughan. Contact 9Wants to Know investigator Kevin Vaughan with tips about this or any story: kevin.vaughan@9news.com or 303-871-1862.

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