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Police chief loves German food, Bob Seger’s music

Paul Dunn

Terry Daniels’ easy laugh and gracious demeanor belie the gravity of his job.

The South Lake Tahoe police chief for the past 1 1/2 years was promoted to the department’s top position after 22 years on the police force. He began his South Shore law enforcement career 25 years ago when he joined the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department before moving on to the police department.

As police chief, Daniels’ duties include recruiting and retaining qualified police officers for his staff.

It’s challenging, he said.

“We’re having a heck of a time finding the next generation of officers to protect the community,” the 50-year-old explained. “Pay and benefits are certainly part of the issue, and affordable housing is a topic of discussion.”

The challenges, however, are not unique to Tahoe, he added.

“Many communities are struggling to recruit and retain officers, and we’re competing with each other to recruit these candidates,” he said.

Daniels, an avid outdoorsman who loves to golf, hike, mountain bike and ski, was born and raised in Sacramento and has been in South Lake Tahoe since 1981.

Daniels and wife Marion Daniels have been married for 30 years and have a son, Robert, 30.

Marion, 48, an accountant and physical education teacher, and Daniels’ closest friend, Lt. Les Lovell, 48, with the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department tried to guess Daniels’ answers. Let’s see how well they did:

1.) What’s your favorite food?

Terry: “I love German food and lived in Germany for six years. I love schnitzel and saurbrauten and roulade. I’d get real fat if I lived there now because the food is so rich.”

Marion: “German. Anything German.”

Les: “He’s a meat eater — steak. He’s a carnivore. Any sort of steak is fine.”

2.) What’s America’s most worrisome issue today?

Terry: “National health care, though terrorism ranks up there. We have to address the issue as a civilized nation because people aren’t getting the health care they need and deserve.”

Marion: “He worries about everything, but I probably would say terrorism. He always concerned with the safety of humanity and our country.”

Les: “Ethical values that we are seeing in younger folks nowadays (GenXers). They lack some of the core character values like commitment, pride and loyalty.”

3.) What book are you currently reading?

Terry: “I’m reading ‘Badge of Honor,’ one of a series of books by W.E.B. Griffin about World War II. It’s just wonderful at times to think about the service they (soldiers) gave to their country, and it makes me swell with pride that they gave so much to who we are today.”

Marion: “Been reading the series by W.E.B. Griffin.”

Les: “Legal update for 2008. We just went through some classes, and he should have gotten his legal update about laws that take effect on Jan 1.”

4.) What’s your favorite song (or type of music)?

Terry: “I like ’70s music: Old time rock ‘n’ roll – Bob Seger, Billy Joel, Eagles and Creedence. I’m also a fairly recent country music convert. My favorite song is a duet by Toby Keith and Willie Nelson: ‘Whiskey for My Men and Beer for My Horses.'”

Marion: “His favorite song is either ‘Whiskey for My Men and Beer for My Horses,’ or Bob Seger’s ‘Like a Rock.'”

Les: “He’s a country-and-western guy.”

5.) If you could be in any profession other than your own, what would it be?

Terry: “I’d like to be a teacher and work with young adults in high school and community college.”

Marion: “He’d really enjoy teaching at the college or just being retired (laughs).”

Les: “He’d be a rock ‘n’ roll singer (laughs). It’s just so opposite of what he is right now.”

6.) What living person do you most admire?

Terry: “Colin Powell. I think he is one of the great leaders of our era and an inspirational man. We can learn a lot from the Colin Powells of the world.”

Marion: “Colin Powell. He’s an outstanding leader.”

Les: “Colin Powell. He used to talk to me about reading Colin Powell’s book.”

7.) What historical figure do you most admire?

Terry: “Martin Luther King: I always admired him. He influenced me and my way of thinking. When I listen to his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech and the poise and charisma with which he delivers that speech is one of the great turning points of our country.”

Marion: “Probably Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King or Ronald Reagan.”

Les: “Gen. George Patton. Gen. Patton was a no-nonsense guy, and I’ve known Terry for almost 30 years now and Terry is a no-nonsense kind of guy.”

8.) If a genie granted you one wish, what would it be?

Terry: “Get our boys out of Iraq. I have been to too many funerals, and I just really am not convinced that we should be in Iraq. We were right in going there, but as this things drag on, we need turn it over to the Iraqis.”

Marion: “Perfect golf game (laughs).”

Les: “For health and happiness for his family. I know Terry would never ask for anything for himself.”

9.) Which would you choose if you had the chance: To grow wings and fly for 30 minutes or become attorney general of the United States?

Terry: “Oh, I’d fly (laughs). I actually always dreamed of getting a pilot’s license. I don’t like politics, and there are so many things that happen in the political world, and I choose not to get involved too much in that arena.”

Marion: “He would fly (laughs). He’s always wanted to fly and has always been fascinated by it. Maybe it’s that freedom thing.”

Les: “He’d be attorney general – no doubt in my mind.”

10.) If you were stranded on an island with the basic amenities to survive, what one personal item would you take?

Terry: “My golf clubs (laughs). I’d have to take a book, because the whole thing is about mind, body and spirit and you have to do something for your mind. I’d take the Bible.”

Marion: “Soap. He’s the cleanest person (laughs). Actually, he’d take me (laughs).”

Les: “His fishing pole – no doubt in his mind.”


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