Lewis brings decades of experience to new job

Published 12:06 am Saturday, November 6, 2010

VIDALIA — The circumstances weren’t ideal for the City of Vidalia, but Arthur Lewis is ready to seize the opportunity that has come his way.

Lewis took over Monday night as acting police chief, only hours after his former boss, Ronnie G. “Tapper” Hendricks resigned. Hendricks faces federal charges of lying to investigators.

“I have been working in law enforcement for 31 years,” Lewis said. “I have held almost every position you can have as a law enforcement officer in Concordia Parish.”

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Lewis spent four years serving as a military policeman in the U.S. Army and 27 years serving as a deputy and officer in Concordia Parish with the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office and the VPD.

“I started off as a dispatcher and now I have worked my way up to chief of police,” he said.

Lewis said he has always known he wanted to be a police officer.

“I had a teacher in elementary school who asked me what I wanted to be,” he said. “Everyone was saying doctors or lawyers, and I told her I wanted to be a police officer.”

Lewis said he has always loved helping people, and there is no better way to help than through law enforcement.

“It is in my nature to go out and talk to people,” he said. “I like people and now that I am chief, I can use my position to help the citizens of Vidalia.”

Lewis said he is going to make sure the VPD is focused on the residents.

“I am in a position to help the department move forward,” he said. “The department is all about the citizens of Vidalia. We are going to do what we can to help keep people safe.”

Lewis said he wants the residents to know they can call on the VPD if they have a problem.

“Theft, burglaries, drugs or any crime that happens, we want people to feel secure and that they can depend on the police department,” he said.

Lewis said he encourages area residents to come to him with their problems.

“I am not a politician,” he said. “I am just an outgoing person who enjoys being around the people I serve. If you pass me by on the street, don’t be afraid to come up and speak to me and find out what I am all about.”

The VPD is going to be fair to everybody, Lewis said.

“No person’s complaint is any less serious than anyone else’s,” he said. “No matter what the complaint may be, we are going to work hard to get a solution.”

Lewis said he is proud to serve such a wonderful city as Vidalia.

“The citizens here are kind, friendly people,” he said. “You can just about stop anyone on the street and have a conversation with them.”

Lewis also said he understands the importance of keeping the community safe.

“I have a wife and three children who live here, too,” he said. “This is a wonderful place to raise a family, and the VPD intends on doing everything in its power to make sure residents are secure.”