Star Prairie welcomes new police chiefStar Prairie’s new police chief is a familiar face in the community.
By: By Jeff Holmquist, New Richmond News
Star Prairie’s new police chief is a familiar face in the community.
Steve Lewis, Town of Star Prairie board supervisor, took over his new part-time position on July 14.
He replaces Jim Richard, who left the post on May 15 and moved from the area. Richard was the police chief in Star Prairie since 2005.
Lewis has been a law enforcement officer since 1982, when he took his first police job in Glenwood City.
He worked part time with the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department during that time as well, before being hired full time as a deputy in 1985.
Lewis continues to work full time as a county deputy, but that will change in the not too distant future.
“I’m looking at retiring in the next couple years,” he said. “This is part time and will work well for me in the future.”
Lewis said he was excited about the prospect of working so close to home, but admitted he was a little leery about the job because he’s had experience working in small communities in the past.
“But Star Prairie is such a nice town,” he said. “It should work out well.”
As he begins to plan his work schedule, Lewis said there will be more daytime patrols than in the past and some night time enforcement around the local parks.
“There have been issues with vandalism at River Island Park and up at the ball park,” Lewis said. “The Lions Club and Star Prairie Fish and Game have worked hard to build the parks up, it’s a shame the vandalism happens.”
Lewis said the village is purchasing several surveillance cameras to keep an eye on park facilities all day long. That should help deter crime, or help the department to catch the vandals.
Lewis also pledged to attend more village board meetings in the future, to help provide better communication between law enforcement and elected officials.
“The past chiefs haven’t attended many meetings in the past,” he said.
Lewis said he’s looking forward to working with the village board and Clerk Patsy Johnson to make Star Prairie a safe and enjoyable place to live and visit.
“They’ve all been excellent to work with,” he said.
Lewis has hired a new part-time officer to work in Star Prairie. Josh Hecht, a Somerset native, will work alongside Lewis in Star Prairie.
“He’s an excellent officer with a lot of common sense,” Lewis said. “That’s what it takes to be a good law enforcement officer — common sense.”
Another important factor for being the best officer is working closely with members of the community.
“I treat people like I want to be treated,” he said. “That goes a long ways when you’re in law enforcement.”
As for his approaching retirement as a deputy, Lewis said he and his wife Debbie hope to spend more time with their three grown daughters and two grandchildren in the future.
“I’m looking forward to that,” he said.
People who see Lewis patrolling the streets of Star Prairie will notice one dramatic change.
He had gastric bypass surgery in January and has dropped a lot of weight.
“I feel great,” he said. “I was a diabetic and now I’m down to just a baby aspirin a day.”