By Mary O’KEEFE
The good news is Los Angeles County Sheriff Deputy Richard Lewis has been promoted to the rank of sergeant; the bad news at least for those in the area is he will be leaving Crescenta Valley Station.
Lewis has been with the sheriff’s department for 20 years, 13 of those between the Altadena and CV stations. For many he is the familiar face that greets them at the front desk. On any given evening he can be heard calmly explaining to one woman why he cannot “fix” a ticket that was given to her by a Glendale police officer or handling what seems like hundreds of calls a night from everything from bear sightings to burglaries.
“Originally I was only going to be a deputy for five years then I was going to be a teacher,” Lewis said.
He said one of the biggest misconceptions about the sheriff’s department is that deputies are just there to take the “bad guys to jail.” That is part of it but most of the time it is about helping people.
“It’s fun to help people,” he said.
Before he was at CV he served at the Altadena Station. This area has been his home for most of his career and although he likes the people he serves and those he works with it was time to move on.
The road to being a sergeant in the department is not an easy one. There is a lot of studying and a lot of testing including an interview.
“The sheriff’s department doesn’t just hand these promotions out. If you want it you have to do something about it,” he said.
With the promotion comes a transfer. Lewis will be at the Men’s Central Jail in L.A.
“It will be a huge difference. It is a totally different job,” he said.
He will help make certain the inmates are taken care of as well as help train the new deputy recruits that will also be serving at the jail.
Lewis said he is looking forward to the change. He will have to stay at the men’s jail for at least a year and then will be eligible for another assignment.
“I would love to get out on patrol again,” he said.
Throughout his career he has experienced many aspects of law enforcement in a variety of areas.
“The department has given me [a well-rounded] education,” he said.
“I have gotten to see every walk of life, every facet of what L.A. has to offer.”
Although he is leaving a relatively quiet station with regular days off and a somewhat normal schedule to go to an area that is not as predictable his family still supports his decision.
“My kids are ecstatic about the promotion. My wife is happy to see me move on in my career,” he said.
What he is going to miss however are the deputies he has worked with for years and the community.
“The community has been so supportive,” he said.