IT IS A huge role to take on, but Moorabool's new local area commander is positive about the road ahead.
Inspector Christensen's 30 years on the beat have been diverse. He has worked in various sectors of the police force from general duties, to working highway patrols, working in sex crimes and with child abuse cases, to family violence and emergency management.
When he was promoted to senior sergeant he went on to run the police stations at Geelong, on the Surf Coast and then in Flemington. Afterwards, he worked as an Acting Inspector and took on a role managing the Wyndham local government area.
He then moved on to working in a strategic role focusing on road policing and operations before moving back to Geelong. There, he worked in road policing and then as Acting Superintendent for 18 months before taking on the role at Moorabool.
The local area commander role entails managing the police resources across three local government areas - Hepburn, Moorabool and Golden Plains.
"My role is to manage the stations, the uniform members rostered at those police stations, their welfare and the communities they work in," he said.
His primary focus is having happy, healthy, safe and trained police members. The role is also about engaging with communities and deciphering the best strategies to reaching policing goals.
It does not come without challenges - from the huge geographical area, which is essentially a horseshoe shape around Ballarat and takes in almost 80 police members, to the task of allaying community concern about resourcing.
Inspector Christensen said police were rostered to areas according to the need and demand but that divisional resources such as detectives and the highway patrol operated in areas, for example at Creswick and Clunes, outside of the hours a station is advertised as being open.
"What the community probably doesn't understand is that even when the police station is closed, the members might be out responding to a job or doing other things relative to their role. It's not that the police aren't working, there would be a number of factors to why the building is closed," he said.
"Sometimes I'm more than happy to actually have the building closed because it means the members are out doing response and other police duties. Whilst we don't have a 24 hour service, we certainly have a 24 hour response."
Inspector Christensen said police members do a great job within their communities but one of the things to focus on would be improving community engagement to make police more accessible to communities.
One of the things I will look at is community engagement, so our messaging and how we are communicating and understanding what the community wants.
He said it was important for the community to understand the role of police and he would be working on building upon social media platforms and programs like Coffee With A Cop to encourage that engagement.
Issues to work on include road trauma, given there have been 11 fatalities in the area he covers in the year to date, and crime reduction.
"Nine of those people involved in road trauma this year resided within our community. They haven't been people passing through who are unfamiliar with the roads and that's the sad part."
He said it was important to ensure that what is being done to reduce the statistics is not just about enforcement and visibility, but about education and looking at the areas driving police command, like mental health and family violence, and working alongside other services to offer counselling and increase referrals.
Additionally, he wants to encourage people to utilise the new police assistance line and Crime Stoppers for non-emergency calls in order to free up police resources.
Aside from his policing career, Inspector Christensen has a background as a football player and comes from a stellar football family.
He played for Geelong Football Club before going on to play in South Australia and coach the Geelong Falcons. His brother Marty and nephew Allen also played for Geelong.
Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.