After 21 years with the Santa Clara Police Department (SCPD), including six as the Assistant Police Chief, Dan Winter is ready for a new chapter in his life.
“I just kind of accomplished everything that I wanted to accomplish in this role,” said Winter. “We were able to build the department up to be able to handle public safety at Levi’s Stadium and go through all that…[It] was time to look for it, for a new challenge.”
Later this year, Winter will take on the role of Security Operations Manager at Intel.
“Part of the reason I’m leaving so early is that I couldn’t turn down that opportunity. I get to stay here in Santa Clara. Intel’s three and a half miles from my house,” said Winter, who has three children who attend school locally.
He says that while he’s leaving the department, he is not leaving all of the work that he does in the community.
“My passion in life besides law enforcement has been working with Special Olympics and the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics,” said Winter. “My new employer Intel knows that I am on the board of Special Olympics Northern California and Nevada. They know about my passion for Special Olympics and they support causes like that…I plan on staying heavily involved in Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run. I’m also a member of Rotary here in town and so I plan on staying involved in that as well.”
Winter downplayed any controversy surrounding his departure. In September 2019 when former chief Mike Sellers retired, Winter took on the role as interim chief. He decided not to run for the position in the March 2020 election when some members of the department said it would cause a divide within SCPD.
Chief Pat Nikolai was elected in March and sworn in at the end of April.
“Pat and I have been working together. He’s been up here for several months now. There’s no issues between us. It’s just I had this opportunity,” said Winter.
In a statement released by the city, Nikolai echoed the sentiment that there is no bad blood between the two men.
“I have been friends with Dan for decades and am not at all surprised that he was recruited by a multinational technology company,” said Nikolai. “He has been an invaluable resource to me as I transitioned to Chief. I have appreciated his support and willingness to share ideas for the future of the department. Dan will be sorely missed by everyone here at the Santa Clara Police Department.”
Winter says he’ll miss his colleagues as well.
“I’ll definitely miss the people that I work with,” said Winter. “I work with tremendous folks here…There’s great people at City Hall that I’ll miss…I’ve just been so fortunate and blessed to work for this department. I’ll miss the people and the camaraderie.”
He says he’ll also miss the amazing support he and the department have received from the community.
“I just want to thank the citizens of Santa Clara for their continued support of our department, especially through this COVID-19 that we’re dealing with now,” said Winter. “We’ve seen donations from all sorts of people. They’re either donating food, having food brought to the briefing room, donating masks; they’re donating hand sanitizer.”
City Manager Deanna J. Santana is expected to work with Chief Nikolai to select the next Assistant Police Chief.