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|Hendricks names Lewis assistant chief|
When Vidalia Police Chief elect Ronnie "Tapper" Hendricks was working at International Paper in Natchez in 1996, he told co-worker Arthur Lewis that one day he was going to be Chief of Police or Sheriff and that he was going to take Lewis along with him.
Hendricks will make that promise official on July 1 when he takes office as Chief of Police in Vidalia.
Lewis, currently a patrol captain with the Vidalia Police Department, will become Hendricks' assistant chief. He has been in law enforcement for 24 years, off and on, in the parish.
"I'm looking forward to getting into that position," said the 49-year-old Lewis. "I've known Tapper a long time and I would share some war stories with him out at the paper mill. I thank God for this opportunity. I enjoy working with people. I never wanted to be in charge, but I've always wanted to be in a position to make a difference. Officers are younger and more educated and situations out there are more complex."
"I have known Arthur most of my life and always respected him," Hendricks said. "He is a good Christian man and a good Christian father. He is well respected in the community and has a tremendous amount of law enforcement experience. He does a great job of upholding the law and most of all the public trusts him."
Hendricks said he is still finalizing the rest of his appointments, but Lewis as assistant was one of his top priorities.
"I think Arthur has been overlooked in the past and he deserves it," Hendricks said. "He reminds me a lot of my uncle, David Hendricks, who nobody ever had a bad thing to say about."
Hendricks was elected Chief of Police of Vidalia on March 8 in a runoff with current Police Chief Billy Hammers, winning 56 percent of the votes.
"It's hard when nothing is being done and you have your hands tied," Hendricks said of the waiting. "I get phone calls every day and I am limited in what I can do. That's the most difficult part of the waiting period."
Hendricks, who will turn 36 on June 20, said he will meet with his officers on July 1.
"We're going to lay down some memos on department policies and dos and don'ts," he said. "The citizens of Vidalia will see a difference within a month. We're going to be pro-active in the community. People will look out their windows and see police officers. We will stay in contact with our community."
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