By SUNNY LOCKWOOD
Anthony Tacheira fell in love with Angels Camp long before he became police chief of the only incorporated city in Calaveras County.
"It's like the city called to me," he said. "I can't describe it any other way. It's a beautiful town."
When he talks of riding through on his motorcycle in years past, or of courting his wife, who lived in Arnold at the time, or of taking the family camping in the region, his eyes sparkle.
He likes to tell the story of one routine day in Dos Palos in 2001, when he was sitting in his chief-of-police office glancing through law enforcement journals. He came upon an ad for a police chief in Angels Camp.
"I wasn't even looking for a job," he said. "But I saw the ad and immediately called my wife. I said, 'You're not going to believe this. Angels Camp is advertising for a police chief.' "
"Are you going to go for it?" she asked.
"Then go for it!" she said.
The next day, he drove to Angels Camp City Hall to pick up an application. Within three days, he had submitted it along with his updated resume.
"Six weeks later, I was sworn in," he said with a deep-dimpled smile. "There are times when I can't believe I'm this lucky, to have this type of department in this city."
March 1 marked Tacheira's one-year anniversary as chief.
Mayor Debbie Ponte said Tacheira has been a much-needed consensus builder, working with city residents, county government, the city council and even within the police department itself.
"He gave the training department a shot in the arm," she said. "And like his predecessor, he's pursued grants that have helped the department buy new equipment at no cost to the citizens."
She said he will present his one-year departmental report to the City Council at one of its April meetings.