Outgoing Vidalia chief to lead Ferriday Police Department

Published 12:03 am Thursday, May 5, 2016

FERRIDAY — Mayor-elect Sherrie Jacobs said she will task Vidalia Police Chief Arthur Lewis to clean up the Ferriday Police Department.

Jacobs also said former Ferriday Fire Chief Joe Sontoyo has agreed to return to his post.

In addition to bringing Lewis on board, Bruce Wiley, who currently serves as Vidalia’s assistant police chief, will be serving in the same role in Ferriday.

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“To be honest, Arthur Lewis has done a remarkable job in Vidalia,” Jacobs said. “I hate to say it’s our gain that he lost the election, but we really need him, so it kind of just falls into place.”

Joey Merrill, the challenger, defeated Lewis for the Vidalia police chief role in the March election.

Jacobs said Sontoyo, who is currently working at the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office prison, has top ratings as a fire chief and has all the credentials.

“He is very good at what he does,” she said. “We are very lucky to have him say he’ll come back on board again.”

Sontoyo was chief until he lost to Gene Allen in the 2012 Ferriday mayor race. Snetville Polk is currently the fire chief.

Margaret Lawrence is currently the police chief, but Jacobs said the department needed someone with a proven track record for turning a department around and someone who can make Ferriday safe again.

“(Lewis) is going to do an awesome job,” she said. “He is very knowledgeable, professional and people love him because he treats everyone the same.

“He’s a very fair man, and I look forward to seeing him whip Ferriday into shape.”

Jacobs said she is still a proponent of an elected police chief, but that’s an issue for another time.

“That is going to have to be something that we are going to revisit down the road,” she said. “Right now we have a big job ahead of us.”