David Spisak, a 25- year veteran of the San Diego Police Department and a community leader, passed away peacefully on January 24, 2014, surrounded by family. He was 74.
The son of Sue and Charles Spisak, Dave moved to San Diego when he was in high school, where he met and began dating Joanna Brown, his future wife.
He graduated from San Diego State University, then served in the U.S. Army from 1960 to 1963, where he was assigned to Transportation Intelligence at the European Command in Germany. He and Joanna married in 1962 in Heidelberg.
They returned to San Diego and in 1965 he joined the San Diego Police Department, where he rose through the ranks from patrol officer to detective and eventually lieutenant. He worked undercover in the 1970s, infiltrating gambling and drug gangs as well as radical protest groups. Later assign- ments included Special Assistant to the City Manager, staff to the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force, and Commanding Officer of Special Investigations and Research and Analysis.
His experience led to his being hired by the California Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) in 1991.
He retired from the SDPD and moved with Joanna to a beautiful home in the foothills above Sacramento.
At POST, he developed and managed training programs in hate crimes and domestic violence and was Bureau Chief from 2006 until his retirement in 2011.
After retirement, he moved with Joanna to Santee to be near their children and grandchildren.
A life-long learner and educator, Dave was a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Virginia, studied Criminal Justice Administration at San Diego State, and graduated from the Master Instructor Development Program at POST. He was also an Adjunct Professor at SDSU.
Dave was a leader in the local law enforcement community, serving on numerous boards and associations. He was a long-time member of the San Diego Lions Club, serving one term as president, and was elected to three terms as president of the board of the Lemon Grove School District, where his daughters attended school. He was also chairman of the National Advisory Board of the Scripps Hospital McDonald Center for Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Treatment.
With his wife Joanna, he was a founding member of the El Dorado Round Table on Human Rights and a strong supporter of the Center for Violence- Free Relationships in El Dorado County.
Dave is survived by Joanna, his wife of 52 years; daughter, Shelley and husband Steve, grandchildren Anna, Jake and Sam; daughter, Sheri and husband Luke, grandchildren Olivia, Maya, Frida and David; daughter, Shannon and husband Lenny, grandchildren Mikaela and Jeremy; sister, Sondra and husband Dale; sister, Melissa and husband Jeff; and sister-in-law, Carole and husband Terry. He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, and friend, and he will be deeply missed.
A memorial service was held on January 30th at the San Diego Lions Club.