Sections of the San Diego Police Department

At the helm of the San Diego Police Department is Chief of Police David Nisleit, steering the department to maintain law and order in the city. The SDPD is not just a monolith but a composite organization composed of various specialized units and sections, each catering to specific law enforcement needs. Some of these include:

  • Air Support Unit: Equipped with state-of-the-art helicopters, the Air Support Unit provides aerial surveillance and operational assistance in emergencies and high-risk operations.
  • SWAT Unit: This unit is a highly trained team that responds to high-risk situations requiring advanced weaponry and tactical proficiency.
  • Homicide Unit: The Homicide Unit investigates serious crimes involving death or the intent to cause death. The detectives in this unit carry out complex investigations to ensure justice for victims.
  • Narcotics Unit: This unit focuses on curbing the drug trade within the city limits. They identify and apprehend individuals involved in the trafficking, sale, and use of illegal drugs.

History of the San Diego Police Department

The story of the SDPD begins in the late 19th century. Before the official establishment of the San Diego Police Department on May 16, 1889, city marshals and constables were responsible for law enforcement. Marshal Joseph Coyne, who had served as a city marshal, became the first Chief of Police, appointing eleven men as field officers and city jailers.

The department expanded and modernized over the following decades. By the mid-20th century, growth outpaced capacity, and the need for a new headquarters became apparent. Groundbreaking for the new San Diego Police Department headquarters took place on August 3, 1938. The modern station, completed in January 1987, replaced the old headquarters at 801 West Market Street.

How the San Diego Police Department Serves the Area

The SDPD is not just about law enforcement; it is about service and community. It strives to uphold core values of diversity, loyalty, fairness, and open communication. In this pursuit, the department fosters strong ties with the community, encouraging cooperation and trust between the police and the public.

Community-oriented policing is a cornerstone of the SDPD’s philosophy. Officers from the department meet with citizens, local businesses, and community organizations on a regular basis to identify and address public safety issues. This cooperative approach fosters trust, facilitates open communication, and helps create a safer community for everyone.

Moreover, the department also collaborates with other local entities like the San Diego Community College District and the California Police Athletic Federation. These partnerships allow for an integrated approach to security and safety, ensuring that everyone in the community, from students to senior citizens, can enjoy a safe and secure environment.

The San Diego Police Department stands as a symbol of service, protection, and community collaboration, continually evolving to meet the city’s needs while safeguarding its citizens.

Address: 1401 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101, United States.


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