To Serve and Protect
As residents of 92130, we have the privilege of living in one the country’s premier regions. At the heart of protecting and serving our great community is the Northwestern Division of the San Diego Police Department. With forty-eight sworn officers – plus administrative employees and volunteers – the division covers not only Carmel Valley, but also Sorrento Valley, Torrey Preserve, Del Mar Heights, North City, Torrey Highlands and Black Mountain Ranch. We talked with Manuel “Manny” Guaderrama, the division’s captain of police about the history and mission of the department, as well as some of the behind-the-scenes processes and effort that it takes to effectively serve 92130.
with Manuel “Manny” Guaderrama,
Northwestern Division Captain of Police
How long has the Northwestern Division Police Station been in operation, and what kinds of changes have occurred since it opened?
Northwestern Division has been in operation for over six years now, having opened March 10, 2007. It was built by funds from the Community of Carmel Valley Facilities Benefit Assessment, which are the fees paid by developers in the community. The facility is over 21,000 square feet, and the police garage is 8,193 square feet. The station was built to accommodate 113 employees.
Over the past six years, we have grown from thirty-nine employees to ninety-five employees (which include forty-seven sworn Northwestern Division officers, twenty-four Retire Senior Volunteers Patrol (RSVP), and twenty-four officers assigned to the Telephone Report Unit). The RSVP program has grown from nine to twenty-four members. We now house the Centralized Telephone Reporting Unit (CTRU) where employees on light duty do reports that can be taken over the phone.
In July 2010, Del Mar Highlands donated three fully equipped bicycles and a carrier to be used by patrol. Up and to that point, Northwestern was the only division that did not have patrol bicycles. The division now has twenty-nine active neighborhood watch groups and utilizes social media such as www.nextdoor.com and Facebook to communicate and interact with the community. Northwestern Division was one of the first few divisions to receive the new police vehicles.
Please explain what areas the Northwestern Division services.
Northwestern Division covers over forty-one square miles and serves a population of over 70,000 residents. We serve the communities of Carmel Valley, Sorrento Valley, Torrey Preserve, Del Mar Heights, North City, Torrey Highlands, and Black Mountain Ranch.
As the captain of this division, what is your role?
As the captain, I have overall responsibility of all police operations and services in Northwestern Division. This includes patrol operations, investigations, and juvenile services. I work with my staff, as well as the community, to ensure we are providing the best police services possible to the community.
What was your professional background, and how did it lead you to your current position?
I began my police career with the San Diego Police Department in 1983 and just recently celebrated my thirty year anniversary with the organization. As a patrol officer, and later as a patrol sergeant, I worked primarily at Central Division serving the Logan Heights and Downtown communities. As a supervisor and as a manager, I worked units such as the Gang Unit, Narcotics, SWAT, Homicide, and Internal Affairs. As a commanding officer, my first assignment was at Southern Division, which is geographically separated from the rest of the city and borders Mexico to the south. I have also been in charge of our Operation Support Division and the Traffic and Special Operations Division prior to coming to Northwestern.
What is the most gratifying aspect, for you, of servicing the 92130 area?
Without a doubt, it is the appreciation we feel from the people in the community.
Is there anything especially unique or noteworthy about this particular police station?
As the newest substation of the department, we definitely have the nicest facility. We have a nice workout room, and with generous donations from the community, we were able to build a cross-fit gym.
What is a typical day for you?
Every day, I try to attend at least one patrol line-up. I meet with our detectives daily to be briefed on crime activity and the progress on the most serious cases. I usually have a number of meetings to attend, some within and some outside the organization. There is also a lot of information that crosses my desk each day, in various formats, that I must either handle personally or assign to a staff member. When there is time, I like to go in the field with a patrol officer, or I go out on my own and cover radio calls.
What challenges do you face in this particular region?
The communities served by Northwestern Division are arguably the safest neighborhoods in the city of San Diego. Our biggest crime problems are property crimes and crimes of opportunity. Because this is safe area, people oftentimes do not safety precautions to protect their property. Many of our crimes involve unlocked doors or valuables left in plain view in vehicles, etc.
Do you have any advice for the 92130 residents about ensuring their safety?
In all communities, people must pay attention to their surroundings and report any suspicious activity. Lock your vehicles when parked and secure valuables in your trunk. Lock the door of your homes when you go out and get to know your neighbors. I am a big believer in our Neighborhood Watch Program.
What are the most common types of calls this division has been responding to?
Like other divisions, we respond to all types of calls ranging from domestic disturbances, alarm calls, property crimes, and – while less than other divisions – acts of violence.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
As the captain of Northwestern Division, it is an honor to lead such a dedicated and committed group of law enforcement professionals.
I believe the officers in this division truly want to provide the best service possible to the community, which makes my job easy and enjoyable.
It seems the Northwestern Police Department has a fantastic outreach to the community, especially its Facebook site. Was that intentional, and do you think it has improved crime statistics?
We have the best community relations officer in the department in Officer Natalie Stone. Natalie has done a fantastic job reaching out to the community through a variety of ways, including through social networks such as Facebook and www.nextdoor.com. We are still evaluating the impact of this type of outreach on crime, but it definitely has had a positive effect on keeping the community informed.
RSVP & VIP
The San Diego Police Department has 356 Retired Senior Volunteers on Patrol (RSVP) as well as 125 Volunteers in Policing (VIP), with twenty-three of the RSVP and VIP serving the Northwestern Division community. Since January 2013, the RSVP donated almost 60,000 hours to patrol and other city events. They are on pace to hit 125,000 hours in volunteer hours by the end of the year. Northwestern Division RSVP and VIP have contributed approximately 4,631 hours to the community.
After an application was submitted (and accepted), San Diego’s Finest CrossFit was born to the Northwestern Division. The gym is an official nonprofit law enforcement affiliate with CrossFit. CrossFit’s headquarters waives the $3,000 annual affiliate fee, and covers the trainers for liability issues related to training using CrossFit philosophies. Many people utilize the CrossFit gym before and after their work shift from Northwestern Division, and throughout the department.
Institutionalizing a non-department sponsored program has been difficult due to personnel transfers and inconsistencies at other commands. Thankfully, the program has continued as new trainers have been afforded scholarships to become official trainers. The Northwestern Division has become a model for many police departments who have desired a grassroots-style CrossFit program that is not sanctioned by departmental regulations. The police academy now uses CrossFit exercises and is perpetuating the benefits of functional fitness.
San Diego’s Finest CrossFit will be hosting the United States Police & Fire Championship “Police & Fire Throwdown” in June 2014, which will be a CrossFit Competition.
NUMBER of Square Miles Covered:
(342 sq. mi. total in the City of San Diego)
NUMBER of Neighborhoods Encompassed:
(125 total in the City of San Diego)
NUMBER of Sworn Officers:
(1,875 total in the City of San Diego)
NUMBER of Civilian Positions:
(479 total in the City of San Diego)
Name of Police Division: Northwestern Division
No. of Employees: 95
Areas serviced: Carmel Valley, Sorrento Valley, Torrey Preserve, Del Mar Heights, North City, Torrey Highlands, and Black Mountain Ranch
Address: 12592 El Camino Real, San Diego, CA 92130