With his wife Michelle holding the Bible, Gerald Lewis Jr., officially took the oath of office as chief of the East Carolina University Police Department May 8.
Lewis has been on the job since mid-January, but took the oath during a campus ceremony Thursday. Annette Parker, accreditation officer for ECU Police, administered the oath.
Calling it “an honor to be the chief here,” Lewis thanked the department’s administrators and officers, especially Deputy Chief Jason Sugg, who helped ensure a smooth transition.
Lewis has some new ideas, he said, “about not only keeping the East Carolina University campus safe but also Greenville and Pitt County. That’s very important to me. I want to be a part of this community.”
Before coming to ECU, Lewis held the rank of major and was commanding officer of the New Jersey Police Office of Community Affairs before retiring in December with 26 years of service.
Working on a university campus is different from his former beat as a New Jersey state trooper but not unwelcome.
“One of the great joys I have is actually walking around campus, meeting students and faculty and bus drivers,” he said. He added that he’s ridden the student transit buses and eaten in the Mendenhall Student Center food court to learn more about campus. “I’m around campus, and I want to be a visible leader.”
Sugg called Lewis “a breath of fresh air for me personally” since the department went without a full-time chief for several months during the search and hiring of Lewis.
The university police force has 60 full-time officers, 10 reserve officers and 20 staff members.