Lafayette taps Christensen as new police chief
During his five-year assignment with the support unit, he managed more than 600 volunteers, and was involved in other high-profile cases, including that of Laci Peterson, the Modesto woman whose husband was convicted of her murder.
"He's just a very likable person and incredibly enthusiastic," Reilly said. "He's got a lot of energy."
That energy has propelled Christensen from the start of his career, which began as a military policeman in the Army. The skills he picked up while assigned to the Army's emergency services are still in practice today, Christensen said.
His first civilian job was with the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department, which provides Lafayette's police services by contract. He was assigned to the Martinez Detention Facility, working there for four years before becoming a field training officer and putting himself through police school.
After hitting the streets, he realized his goal of becoming a detective in San Ramon, which is where he won Sheriff's Officer and Employee of the Year for 1999. Other awards followed. He joined the Oakley Police Department and became a supervising sergeant and took other assignments before being promoted to lieutenant. These days, he's running the sheriff's civil unit in Martinez and training for his new position.
"I enjoy working to no end," Christensen said about his busy schedule, which includes instructing police academy recruits. He credits his strong work ethic to his Danish immigrant parents and said he took his first job at age 13.
As for his new job, which some consider a plum assignment due to Lafayette's low crime rate, Christensen is both philosophical and grateful.
"I think that with any assignment you get, it's what you make of it," he said. "Having a community that appreciates it's law enforcement officers is not a bad thing."