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For Eric Christensen, the call came early.

Lafayette’s new top cop says he was in fifth grade when he realized he wanted to become a police officer. His inspiration was a teacher with a dual career in law enforcement.

“He was such a compelling guy, he was the person I wanted to model myself after,” Christensen, 47, recalled. “Because of that contact, (I thought it) was an honorable profession.”

Now a 20-year veteran of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, the respected lieutenant was recently tapped to head Lafayette’s police department following chief Mike Hubbard’s retirement, announced in February. Christensen will oversee a staff of 16 sworn officers and five department employees, and said he’s eager to address the challenges facing those involved in public safety. “The biggest thing that affects all of us as police chiefs or citizens is complacency, and not being ready for what’s around the next corner,” he said.

Selected from a handful of applicants following interviews with citizens, lawmakers and fellow officers, Christensen was the right candidate for Lafayette, said City Manager Steven Falk. He singled out the lieutenant’s expertise in volunteer management and emergency preparedness.
“We really are an area that is ripe for some kind of emergency” Falk said. “It’s good to have another police chief who is comfortable dealing with those situations.”

Crime Prevention Commission chair Traci Reilly said she too was impressed by Christensen’s handling of disasters, including the Walnut Creek pipeline explosion in 2004. Immediately following the blast, Christensen, then coordinator of the Sheriff’s Emergency Services Support Unit, helped set up and run a command post that included emergency personnel and members of the public.
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.”

OBIT: John T. Nejedly

John Travers Nejedly

John Travers Nejedly

Resident of San Ramon, Ca
  John Travers Nejedly embarked peacefully on a new journey Friday, October 7, 2016. John was born on July 2, 1964 in Walnut Creek, CA. He is the son of John A. Nejedly and Pamela Maloy, both deceased. John is survived by his loving family, his wife, Katie, his daughters, Kathleen and Kristina and his son, John Christian. His siblings and extended family of nieces, nephews and in-laws also survive him.
  J.T., as many knew him, attended Las Lomas High School, Modesto Jr. College, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and John F. Kennedy University School of Law. He founded Nejedly Corporation, a general engineering contracting company, worked as an Attorney and served as a Contra Costa Community College District Trustee in the years preceding his death.
  J.T. enjoyed spending time with his family and in the mountains more than anything. He loved golfing, skiing, coaching sports, riding dirt bikes and snowmobiles, fishing and living life to the fullest. John will be remembered most for his twenty-two years of dedication to the Community College Board and his twenty-seven years of giving his family so much love and happiness. He will also be remembered as a lifelong friend and confidant to everyone who knew him. His carefree demeanor, love of life and genuine smile will be missed more than anyone will ever know.
Services will be held on Thursday, October 27th at 11:00am at Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, 1315 Lomitas Avenue, Livermore, CA 94550.

View the online memorial for John Travers Nejedly
Published in East Bay Times on Oct. 21, 2016

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