Yakima Detective of the Year Recognized for his Commitment to Community

Michael Durbin started his career with the Yakima Police Department in rural Washington state in 2011, first spending a short time working for the Street Crimes Unit and for the last five years as a Special Assault Unit Detective. Six years later, Detective Michael Durbin has been recognized by his peers as Yakima Police Department’s 2016 Detective of the Year.

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Durbin said he knew as far back as middle school that he wanted a career in law enforcement. As a teenager, he got the chance to experience firsthand what police officers do. The opportunity came when his older sister’s then-boyfriend, a chief of police, took Durbin under his wing and let him hang out at the station. “Seeing what the work entailed, the excitement of it and the capacity to help other people and actually make a difference and do something – that’s what stood out to me,” Durbin said.

Durbin earned his degree from Yakima Valley Community College nearly 15 years ago, and after completing his police academy training, started his policing career shortly thereafter at the Wapato Police Department.

Durbin says the Wapato Police Department was a relatively small station at the time, with only 10 officers working patrol, which meant that often Durbin was the only officer out patrolling the community. Durbin says his time at the Wapato Police Department was “a bit shaky. . . there were a lot of calls where you just go through a lot of scenarios where you ask, ‘How am I going to approach this because I am by myself?’” But, his time at that small station in Wapato taught him how to strategize and use verbal techniques to deescalate a situation.

Now, Durbin is a detective for the Special Assault Unit at the Yakima Police Department, where he works as many as 40 cases per month. Cases assigned to the Special Assault Unit include sexual assault, domestic violence, and tracking of sex offenders. As a detective for this unit, he also has extensive training in sexual assault interviews and child forensic interviews.

Durbin said that being recognized as YPD’s 2016 Detective of the Year “means a lot because it’s voted on by your peers . . . it could have gone to anybody – and there would have been a lot of deserving people.”