SFPD gay captain to oversee community engagement efforts

  • by Matthew S. Bajko, Assistant Editor
  • Thursday January 20, 2022
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SFPD Captain Christopher Del Gandio will oversee the department's Community Engagement Division, beginning January 29. Photo: Rick Gerharter
SFPD Captain Christopher Del Gandio will oversee the department's Community Engagement Division, beginning January 29. Photo: Rick Gerharter

The San Francisco Police Department has assigned its first out gay captain to oversee its Community Engagement Division. Housed out of Mission Station, the division works closely with the community liaisons assigned at all 10 of the department's district stations and oversees such efforts as youth-oriented programs and annual holiday donations of turkeys, toys, and Christmas trees.

As the Bay Area Reporter first reported online January 19, Captain Christopher Del Gandio is the first known gay man to make that rank. He is also currently the highest-ranking out LGBTQ police officer in the department.

Del Gandio has been undergoing training to become a captain and his assignment overseeing the community-focused division LINK: https://www.sanfranciscopolice.org/your-sfpd/explore-department/community-engagement will become official Saturday, January 29. He told the B.A.R. he was pleased with his being sent back to oversee a division where he had been assigned as a lieutenant.

"I think it will give me the opportunity to help connect all communities, including my community (LGBTQ), so that we can work together toward a safer future," said Del Gandio, who had passed his captain's test in July 2020.

The native of Teaneck, New Jersey, who will turn 42 on January 22, graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Science degree in administration of justice. He had worked for a small police department in the Garden State as a dispatcher and police service aide. After college he was employed as a probation officer, and a vacation to Northern California convinced him to apply with the SFPD.

He moved to San Francisco in December 2007 after being accepted into an SFPD academy class. He is the first in his family to seek a law enforcement career.

This is Del Gandio's third promotion in the department. After making lieutenant he was assigned to Mission Station, which is responsible for patrolling much of the city's LGBTQ Castro district.

He then was assigned to the community engagement division at the station before being sent to Central Station, which covers the city's tourist areas like Union Square and Fisherman's Wharf. Most recently he had been its night watch commander overseeing the swing shift.

He told the B.A.R. that he sees community policing as integral to how SFPD approaches it mission of protecting the public.

"We can't do the work without the community. It is part of our blood now," said Del Gandio. "We need the community to help us. I think collaborating really helps us move forward and keeps everyone safe."

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