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Dan Banasik: Highway Patrolman reflects on career

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"I really enjoyed the fact I was in a position that I could try to right a wrong," reflected Lieutenant Dan Banasik. Banasik recently retired after serving almost 29 years on the Missouri Highway Patrol. Banasik was in charge of the Criminal and Narcotics unit, a group whose job is to investigate and stop illegal drug trafficking. 

For all those years in service, Banasik was featured in several articles regarding drugs, helping aid in busts, and ultimately helping victims. He was even awarded the Missouri State Patrol Valor Award, an award given to law enforcement officers that have done extraordinary acts of bravery or heroism. Yet, despite those accomplishments, he mentions that it was a team effort and he cannot take all the credit.

 

Looking back on his career, Banasik recalls, "When I started, we were only concerned about the criminal, which is still our main focus, but we would sometimes forget about the victims." As time passed, it became necessary not just for Banasik, but all of the Highway Patrol to check in with the victims of these crimes. "We are starting to consider victims, their mental state, how they feel, and keeping them up to date on their cases. That is a big thing for victims," Banasik points out. 

If he was not forced into retirement, which according to Missouri law is 60 years old, perhaps Banasik might have still been working for the Missouri Highway Patrol. But instead, Banasik laughs working for the patrol " is a young man's game, and I'm not young." 

Upon further reflection, Banasik mentioned there is one thing he will not miss about his job, and that is his phone. "When I became a lieutenant in charge of the criminal and narcotics unit,  I was tethered to my phone. I did not necessarily always have to work, but I had to know what was going on, pass the information along, and make sure people were prepared and had what they needed. So that is one thing I am looking forward to, not always having to have my phone with me."

When asked what his plans are now that he is retired, he plans to be involved with a few organizations including human trafficking and child advocacy, "Basically, a citizen that wants to continue to try and help," Basasik says but outside of that, "It is a new chapter, but for now I don't have any plans." 

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