Northeastern Division has a new captain
By Elizabeth Marie Himchak
Cell phones’ impact on crime is just one of the many changes police Capt. Dan Christman has seen in his 30-year career with San Diego Police Department.
Northeastern Division’s new captain — the division includes Rancho Bernardo — said victims and witnesses often report crimes more quickly because of cell phones. This helps police look for a suspect during or soon after a crime.
Christman said years ago people had to find a phone — either a payphone or by going somewhere — and “now we get instant calls … with much more timely information.” Sometimes police are provided photos taken with the phones, he added.
“Instant communication has increased guardianship in the community,” he said.
Community assistance is crucial in light of department-wide budget-imposed staffing shortages, he said.
“We do what we can with what we’ve got,” Christman said. “There’s always more we’d like to do than what we can do.”
Because division boundaries are based on population, Northeastern is geographically the largest at 101 square miles, spanning from Mira Mesa to San Pasqual. Patrol officers are divided into northern and southern groups, but there is still an unavoidable delay when responding to calls because of travel time, especially on the freeway during rush hour gridlock, he explained.
Therefore, Christman said residents must be vigilant in their communities and call police when something appears to be wrong.
Besides cell phones impacting crime reporting, he said new technology within police vehicles is also helping police do their job. This includes having Internet access so they can see a picture or other descriptive information and do research on site.
Christman, who became Northeastern’s captain when promoted last month, began his career as a patrol officer in the Southeastern, Mid City and Eastern divisions. After additional time in the latter two and Neighborhood Police Unit as a sergeant, he became a lieutenant for his first assignment at Northeastern (1997-2001). Since then he has worked in Southeastern and Northern divisions, the Special Events and Parking Enforcement/Air Support units, been a field lieutenant and most recently worked in Internal Affairs. His career also included being a SWAT member for seven years.
While his father, Paul Christman, was a sergeant in the department during the ‘50s and ‘60s, Christman said he chose law enforcement because he wanted to have an honorable career that he would be good at and gave him the ability to take care of his family.
The native San Diegan and his wife, Deanna, have been married for 33 years. They have five children and are looking forward to the birth of their eighth grandchild in October, he said. When not at work, Christman said he enjoys spending time with extended family, snow skiing, kayaking, camping and backpacking in the desert. He also coached high school football for nine years.
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