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OPD Lieutenant Goes '10-7' After 23 Years in Law Enforcement

By Alyssa Schnugg
Staff writer

At the end of his shift Tuesday, Lt. Steve Lewis with the Oxford Police Department went “10-7” for the last time as he ended his 23 years in law enforcement.

“They are my second family,” Lewis said of his fellow OPD officers.

Lt. Steve Lewis retires from the OPD August 31 after 23 years of service. Photo courtesy of OPD.

Lewis officially retires on Aug. 31 but has almost two years of unused vacation and sick time that will give him his 25 years of service to retire with full retirement.
“I just never really took any time off,” he said.
He started his law enforcement career with OPD in 1995 as a patrolman before moving over to the DUI unit he helped start in 1996. In 1997, he went to work for the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, where he worked for 10 years.
“The life of a game warden is a hard one,” he said. “Every weekend, every holiday I had to work.”
After he and his wife Melanie had their son, Dakota, Lewis found himself wanting an easier, more regular schedule and returned to OPD in 2007 where he’s been protecting and serving Oxford ever since.
Melanie is an art teacher with the Lafayette County School District. The couple has two children now, Dakota, 13, and Ella, 10.
While at OPD, Lewis served as a patrol officer, DUI officer, K9 officer and patrol lieutenant.
He made the choice to go into law enforcement after watching his step-father, Lafayette County Sheriff F.D. Buddy East, serve the citizens of Lafayette County. East has been sheriff for more than 45 years.
“Just being around him and watching him made me get involved (in law enforcement),” Lewis said.
Being 47 years old, Lewis said while he’s retiring from OPD, he won’t be sitting at home all day.
“I can’t sit idle,” he said, chuckling.
He will be working with a friend who owns a construction company. His last day at work at OPD was an emotional one for him and his family, he said.
“My wife was sitting on the couch crying,” he said. “She said, ‘This is the last time I’ll see you in a uniform.’”
While he won’t miss the paperwork associated with law enforcement, Lewis said he will miss his second family.
“You spend 12 hours a day with each other,” he said. “But I’ll always be a cop at heart. I’ll still sit at a restaurant facing the door.”

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