by Maggie Judi
There have been many history-making moments in San Juan County this year, windmills and monuments among them. However, one wonderful piece of history may have quietly slipped by.
On December 15, 2016, Amy Bronson Camacho was sworn in as San Juan County’s first female Sheriff’s deputy!
Amy Camacho has always lived in a man’s world. Born the youngest of three children to David and Julie Bronson, Amy grew up at the base of the Blues, hunting, and riding horses, with her two older brothers Adam and Aaron.
She began her career in the National Guard and ROTC, and is now a member of the Army Reserves. Now, 15 years after originally leaving Monticello, Amy is the mother of her own “band of brothers”, raising three boys along with her husband Juan.
Amy has never really looked at her life as a man’s world. It’s simply her life, and reaching such heights has come about by a fearless determination to work hard and seize every opportunity along the way.
When asked where a girl gets that kind of gumption, she reminisces, ““That’s kind of in my nature to do things that most people don’t. Since I was little, that’s just always been me. I don’t know where it came from.”
Amy has always had a love horses and competed in barrels and rodeo growing up. She has cared for horses everywhere she’s lived and kept up with her rodeo skills.
Sheriff’s Deputy was not the first career choice for this pioneer. Camacho recalls how a summer spent with the Forest Service fighting wild fires lit a proverbial match in her fearless heart.
The firefighters were dropped in the forest via helicopter. The thrill of flashing over the canopy of pines and mountains sparked a desire in Amy to learn to fly one.
She recalls a trip to Utah Valley University that she took with her father, David Bronson, to look into their flight program.
What she found was somewhat discouraging. The cost of the program was so high, Camacho didn’t see how such a thing was possible.
David was more optimistic. Says Amy, “I thought, ‘there is no way I can do this’ and my Dad said, ‘well, sure there is’.”
David basically said, “You can just join the army and learn to fly for free!”
Amy’s initial response, “OK Dad, why don’t you just take me out back and shoot me.”
But with a soft smile and a simple phrase of hope David said, “Well that’s a good way to get it paid for. You may have to do something you don’t necessarily love to get something that you do love.”
Amy joined the National Guard and went to basic training in 2002. In 2003, she started ROTC at Utah State, but moved after a year and received her commission as an Army Officer from the University of Kansas in 2006.
Amy and Juan were also married in 2006, and with Juan being active duty Army and looking at deploying, Amy had to think differently about what she wanted.
Juan had a teenage son, Joel, and she wanted to make a home life for him that was similar to the positive and supportive place where she grew up.
Flight school was more than one year long and was hundreds of miles away in Alabama. So Amy’s life took another turn with motherhood as she and Juan expanded their family with the birth of two more sons, Jaeden and Jacob.
With Juan away, honorably serving the country, and after Joel graduated from high school, Amy decided to bring her boys back to the Blues. Once Juan had retired from the Army, the pair decided that this would be the place to raise their boys.
Amy had worked as a dispatcher, but once the decision was made to stay, she set her sights on a different job: Deputy Sheriff.
She has trained, certified, is now finishing up her ride-alongs, and has joined the ranks of law enforcement. She says that this “man’s world” of policing has welcomed her with open arms.
Many of her fellow deputies have said, “We are really excited to have you it’ll be great to have a female out there, just know if we try to protect you it’s just in our nature.”
Amy is grateful for their words, and having been surrounded by this type of chivalry all her life, she completely understands the sentiment. She says she tells them, “We’ve been trained the same, just treat me like any other deputy.”
So far Amy has loved her job, her coworkers, and especially the view from her “office window” as it were, adding, “I get to see the a lot of this county as part of my job!”
The view of the canopy of pines may be lower in altitude, but that view is just as stunning as from a helicopter.
County residents can rest assured that their newest deputy will bring to the job her lifelong education in hard work, learned from her parents.
Amy’s mother Julie, she says, “is so kindhearted giving, always doing things for others, and thinking about someone besides herself.”
Amy says her parents always taught her, “Everything that I wanted to do, my parents were behind me 100 percent.
“But they were also saying, ‘You have to put out the effort for it, we’ll be there for you and support you but you have to put in the work for it.’ They never tried to hold me back.”
So that is the source of that famous gumption that propelled Amy to new places. Now that hardworking, horse-riding girl in a man’s world has made it to the history books.
The first female deputy in San Juan County is on patrol.