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David A. Casteel

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Basic Collision Investigation and Scene Documentation, Second Edition
David A. Casteel  More Info
Pedestrian Accident Reconstruction And Litigation
Jerry Eubanks  More Info

About the San Diego Police Department

Prior to 1889, law enforcement in San Diego was handled by city marshals and constables. Between 1845 and 1850, the town was under military control. In 1850, the state senate drew up a charter providing for a five-man city council assisted by a marshal, an attorney, an assessor and a treasurer. The voters chose Agostin Haraszthy as both sheriff and marshal.

 

The frontier lawman was patrolman, detective, criminologist, jailor, process server, clerk and executioner. His first requirement was raw courage. Hedepended upon the gun on his hip to back up his orders. His first interest was in keeping alive and bringing the culprit to justice, dead or alive.

 

In 1850, the council decided to build a town jail. Two bids were received, one from the Israel brothers for $3,000 and the other from Haraszthy for $5,000. Because Haraszthy's father was president of the council, Haraszthy got the contract -- bankrupting the city. Four hours after the first prisoner was incarcerated, he dug his way through the wall with a pocket knife.

 

The city eventually purchased a cage and put its first escape-proof jail in the Old Town Plaza. In 1871, the jail was moved to the location of the present county courthouse at Front and C Streets in new San Diego.

 

The metropolitan San Diego Police Department was established May 16, 1889. On June 1 of that year, Joseph Coyne, the city marshal, was appointed the first chief of police.

 

The first police uniform consisted of derby hats, coats with high collars and badges with seven-point stars. Chief Coyne was paid $125 a month, his officers $100 a month; they worked 12-hour days, seven days a week. In 1895 shifts were reduced to eight hours -- but salaries also dropped: $25 a month. Mounted patrolmen furnished their own horses, but did receive $100 a month for feed and care of their animals. The modern mounted patrol began in 1934 in Balboa Park. It was abolished in 1948, but was re-established in 1983 and remains active today.

 

Among other milestones: Harry Vandeberg was the first detective (1907); W. E. Hill was the department's first motorcycle officer (1909); the first traffic signal was installed around 1920 at Fifth Avenue and Broadway (it was manually controlled by an officer who stood in the center of the intersection); the crime lab was established in 1939; patrol cars got one-way radios in 1932, two-way radios four years later; and the first reserves appeared on the scene in 1942.

 

The first police headquarters was in City Hall at Fifth Avenue and G Street. Several moves later, the department relocated at Dead Man's Point, named because of its use as a burial place for sailors and marines during the charting and surveying of San Diego Bay. The department remained there -- at 801 West market Street -- until 1987, when it moved into its current seven-story headquarters building at 1401 Broadway.

 

Source:

sandiego.gov/police

/about/history.shtml

David A. Casteel, senior collision analyst, provides consultation and expert witness services to governmental and private sector clients in the areas of traffic collision causation, analysis and reconstruction. Before joining the Ayres Group in 1992, David A. Casteel worked for the San Diego City Attorney’s Office as a litigation investigator and collision analyst for more than six years. He was member of the San Diego Police Department for thirteen years. Casteel is qualified as an expert in accident reconstruction in superior, municipal, federal court and arbitration. He has completed a variety of accident investigation, collision analysis, biomechanics and other related courses at the University of North Florida, Long Beach State University, University of California, San Diego and holds a B.S. in mathematics (engineering emphasis). He also is lecturer in the field and co-author of Basic Collision Analysis and Scene Documentation and Pedestrian Accident Reconstruction and Litigation.

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