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Gustine police chief arrested for DUI

Gustine's police chief, Kris Anderson, was arrested early Sunday morning on a drunken driving charge near Tracy. He has been placed on paid administrative leave while the charges are investigated.

Anderson, chief since January, 2007, declined comment Sunday afternoon when contacted by the Sun-Star and referred the matter to City Manager Margaret Silveira. She said Sgt. Devon Stavrowsky will be acting police chief this week while Anderson's arrest is examined.

"I'm very disappointed something like this happened," Silveira said. "Mr. Anderson will be on administrative leave until I have a chance to investigate what happened. In the next few days I'll have more to say." She said she spoke briefly with Anderson on Sunday.

California Highway Patrol Officer Robert Rickman of the Tracy-Area CHP office said Anderson, 59, was arrested at 12:03 a.m. Sunday on Interstate 580 near Corral Hollow Road after his Jeep sport-utility vehicle was observed weaving erratically and he failed a field sobriety test.

Anderson attended the annual Gustine Chamber of Commerce awards banquet Saturday night at the Al Goman Center, Judi Gandy, chamber secretary and past president, confirmed. She said Anderson has volunteered many times to help the chamber.

Anderson failed a breath test. He was cited and released to a family member. Officers are not mandated to take a drunken-driving suspect to jail and one of the options is citing and releasing a suspect, Rickman said.

Between preparations for Saturday night's storm and light CHP staffing in the area, it was not unusual for a DUI suspect to be released without going through the booking process, Rickman said.

Gustine City Council member Jim Bonta said he would keep an open mind and wants to find out the actual facts in connection with Anderson's arrest and go from there. Bonta also said Anderson attended the chamber event Saturday night.

"I'm disappointed, sorry it occurred," Bonta said. "I'm not sure what happened; it's unfortunate. We were just starting to go forward. We will handle everything professionally and appropriately."

Pat Thistle, union official of Operating Engineers Local 3 in Modesto, which represents the Gustine Police Officers Association and 10,000 area government employees, said the chief's arrest is another chapter in an ongoing saga.

The Gustine police association issued a unanimous no-confidence vote to Anderson last July, and labor leaders demanded Anderson be fired. Thistle said Sunday nothing has been resolved since then. He doubted any of the officers knew many details about Anderson's arrest.

"I'm not that surprised by what happened. The ongoing troubles are well documented," Thistle said.

Gustine Mayor Pro Tem Joe Oliveira said he can't say much because this is a personnel issue.

He did say the arrest was "very disappointing" and the council would be addressing the issue, hopefully making decisions for the good of the whole community.

Rickman said the CHP received a call at 11:31 p.m. Saturday about a possible drunken driver westbound on Interstate 580. Anderson was very cooperative, Rickman said. The arrest report will be filed with the San Joaquin County District Attorney's Office for a final decision on whether to prosecute Anderson.

Anderson, a 28-year veteran of the Alameda County Sheriff's Department and a Livermore resident, is in the midst of a three-year contract as Gustine chief and his starting salary was $72,293 a year. He was hired by City Manager Roger Wong, who was replaced by Silveira.

Associate Editor Doane Yawger can be reached at 209 385-2485 or dyawger@mercedsun-star.com.

Reporter Scott Jason also contributed to this report.

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