Auburn Hills Police Chief Shares Shocking Reality of Domestic Violence

Auburn Hills Police Chief Shares Shocking Reality of  Domestic Violence

(Auburn Hills Police Chief Doreen Olko, April 11, 2017)

Auburn Hills, MI – Domestic violence is a terrible problem on this country.  We respond to these calls nearly daily here in Auburn Hills and it is not uncommon to respond to several in one 24 hour day.  Nationally, we saw it again yesterday when a teacher’s estranged husband burst into his wife’s special education classroom and fired, killing her and an 8 year old boy.  A second boy was injured.


A gunman opened fire inside his wife’s elementary school classroom in San Bernardino on Monday, killing her and one a student before shooting himself.

Source: San Bernardino School Shooting: Three Dead, 1 Wounded in ‘Murder-Suicide’ in Classroom – NBC News

Domestic violence cuts across all races and socio economic groups.  Nice neighborhoods, not so nice neighborhoods.  We see it so much on the news I fear we have stopped seeing it.  Did you know that in Michigan:

  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the United States have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.
  • On a typical day, domestic violence hotlines receive approximately 21,000 calls, approximately 15 calls every minute.
  • Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime.
  • The presence of a gun in the home during a domestic violence incident increases the risk of homicide by at least 500%.
  • 72% of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner; 94% of the victims of these crimes are female.

Lt Cas Miarka, who trains our businesses in active shooter response, reminds workplaces how  frequently workplace violence stems from a domestic dispute.  That is just what the San Bernardino incident was –her husband brought a gun to her workplace to kill her.  No one wants to become involved in someone else’s business but if you know a co worker is struggling it is important to report the situation to Human Resources who can take steps to make sure that workers are safe.  Call us, we can help.

Because of our concerns over the widespread nature of this type of crime, we have embarked on a new path to increase our skills and knowledge of investigation of these cases.  Several of our officers and investigators have been trained and certified in “lethality.”  We take extra steps to determine how likely it is that one of the parties in a domestic dispute may engage in extreme violence.  There are behavioral markers that are derived from research indicating when there is a likelihood so that the victim can take steps to protect themselves.

We also have trained more personnel on the signs of strangulation. Victims will sometimes tell us that they have been “choked” by their partner but at the time there are no obvious marks or bruises so no evidence.  Since there was no specialized way to gather evidence officers had no empirical proof -only the victim’s word.  We know that “choking”  is an attempt to kill another person and that it takes a relatively small amount of pressure on the carotid arteries to cut off blood supply to the brain causing death in a short period of time.  We have been involved in this extra training starting in early 2017.  As a result,  we have requested and received strangulation (10 year felony) warrants for the arrest of 2 perpetrators.  When I watched the recorded interview of one of these individuals he demonstrated how he pulled the strings of her hoodie sweatshirt to cut off her ability to breath and the blood supply to her brain. It was shocking to watch.  The other subject escaped the scene before our arrival and has not yet been arrested.  But we will find him.

We have rededicated ourselves to improved investigation using new evidence based techniques in these cases.  We understand how much havoc and damage the perpetrators wreak on those around them:  domestic partners, children, workplaces, even police officers.  And we are determined to bring them to justice.

If someone you know is a victim of domestic violence there is help:  HAVEN their 24 hr crisis line number is 877-922-1274.  If you are lucky enough not to need the services of HAVEN you can still help with your time, your talents and your money.  Check out their website to find out how.

And if you are a person who is violent toward your intimate partner or family, you are going to jail in Auburn Hills.

This story is reprinted with permission form Chief Olko’s blog.  This story is presented without advertising due to the subject matter. Please support our sponsors at

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