Lewis steps down as police chief
Booneville Police Chief Rusty Lewis left the department, effective last Tuesday, June 30.
Mayor Jerry Wilkins said last week he was unsure when he would name a full time replacement as chief but for the time being Lt. Ben Villarreal is handling the chief duties.
Lewis’ departure was one of two on the final day of the month as officer Jack Williams also left the department.
The resulted in Wilkins hiring Michael Keatts to fill a vacancy. Keatts, who had been with the Logan County Sheriff’s Office for 12 years, will start in mid-July.
“I had to have a certified (officer) I didn’t have time to send anybody to school,” said Wilkins. “I can go one short and send somebody to (the police academy) but I can’t go two short. So this will get me by until I can get somebody else.”
Wilkins said he anticipates filling the other opening with someone he will send to the police academy.
Further complicating the staffing matter, another officer will be off duty until mid-July.
Villarreal said he has devised a schedule to cover all of the shifts which would have been handled by the officers who are unavailable or no longer with the department.
Following Al Brown, who left to become an investigator for the Sheriff’s Office, Lewis had been the police chief since August of 2018, and had been with the department since 2005, starting initially as a dispatcher.
In law enforcement over 20 years, Williams had been with the BPD for a little more than five years.