GUSTINE -- Kris Anderson, the city's embattled police chief who was arrested in February on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, has left the department.
Acting Police Chief Devon Stavrowsky said Anderson announced his decision to the department March 25, with the retirement effective immediately.
Stavrowsky said many of the officers at the 10-member department were "sad to see (Anderson) go," although he "clearly had bad judgment."
Stavrowsky said Anderson's arrest was one factor in his retiring, suggesting that he had done it for the city's well-being.
"He just decided that this was the point in his career, for the benefit of everybody involved, he was just going to go ahead and pull the plug," Stavrowsky said. "It was causing too much turmoil within the city itself."
Anderson, 59, was arrested by the California Highway Patrol Feb. 24 near Tracy when drivers reported his Jeep was weaving on Interstate 580. He was about 10 miles from his Livermore home. CHP investigators said he failed a field sobriety test.
He didn't return calls placed to his home this week. A woman who answered the phone at Anderson's Livermore-based attorney's office said the lawyer, James McGrail, had no comment.
Gustine Mayor Rich Ford said Anderson made the right decision by retiring, saying it would have been difficult for him to remain the city's top cop with a "DUI hanging over his head."
"There's still a lot of commu-nity support for him, people saying, 'Can't you find a way to keep him on?' and some of that stuff," Ford said. "The whole situation is just really difficult. There's too many variables to make it work, as far as I can see."
Now that Anderson is gone, Ford said the city must start searching for a chief, which could take time.
"These small communities, we just can't afford to pay the amount of money it takes to get chiefs," Ford said. "That's the hard part, trying to find a police chief who is willing to work for those wages." Anderson's starting salary was $72,293 a year.
Ford said he didn't see any reason to continue a city investigation into Anderson's alleged DUI, now that he has ended his employment there.
Anderson, who had worked 28 years for the Alameda County Sheriff's Department, had a three-year contract as Gustine chief and had been in the post about a year before his arrest.
His short time as police chief was not without controversy. In July 2007, he received a no-confidence vote from the Gustine Police Officers Associ- ation. The union called for Anderson's resignation, citing unexpected schedule changes, lack of leadership, poor com- munication skills and unpro- fessional behavior at work and in public.
Anderson is scheduled to be arraigned in San Joaquin County Superior Court on April 15.