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Talk Of The Town – Scott Lewis

Scott and Amy Lewis

Col. Scott Lewis is the Chief Administrative Officer and Police Chief of Cottleville, Missouri. He was appointed by the Mayor with the approval of the Board of Aldermen. He had also worked alongside with the Missouri State Water Patrol, US Coast Guard and Missouri National Guard during the Great Flood of 1993. Chief Lewis is running for the upcoming election for Sheriff of St. Charles County.

Interview by Stephen Thompson, Ph.D.

Welcome to OpenBeast. Tell us about yourself?

I was born and raised in St. Charles County. Graduated from Fort Zumwalt Senior High School in 1986. Received a scholarship to play football at CMSU (now UCM) in Warrensburg, MO. At the time, I unfortunately didn’t understand the value of a college education. My boss at the time, Evan Thebeau had introduced me to the Wentzville Police Chief who later hired me as a police auxiliary. I was sponsored to attend the police academy and hired as a full time police officer. I had a number of assignments at Wentzville including patrol officer, detective and crime prevention/DARE officer. I continued my role as a crime prevention/DARE at the St. Charles County Sheriff’s Department. For a large portion of the summer of 1993 I was assigned to patrol portions of Portage des Sioux, West Alton and Orchard Farm working closely with the Missouri State Water Patrol, US Coast Guard and Missouri National Guard during the Great Flood of 1993. I was asked to come back to Wentzville PD in 1994 as a sergeant responsible for the Support Serviced Division. For the last 17 years I have served as the Chief of Police for the Cottleville Police Department and 13 of those years I have held the additional role of City Administrator.

My wife Amy and I live in Cottleville and we have three sons Kenneth (25), Alex (19) and Adam (13).

Describe the City of Cottleville.

Wow, I don’t know where to start. Cottleville is much older than most people think and at one time was the second largest city in the county. Founded in 1798 by Capt. Warren Cottle a Revolutionary War veteran. Capt. Cottle brought 100 members of his family from Vermont to settle this area. In addition to Cottleville members of his family founded the Lincoln County communities of Troy, Old Monroe and Alexandria. Other highlights include: Kountz Fort during the War of 1812, Boone’s Lick Road (Western Plank Road) and an attempt to move the county seat to Cottleville during the 1840’s. Union soldiers were stationed at Camp Krekel in Cottleville, named for their commanding officer Col. Arnold Krekel, founder of O’Fallon. After the Civil War, Cottleville remained the small quiet community for over 100 years. In the late 1990’s the community grew rapidly and for many years the city limit signs listed the city’s population as “Growing”. Despite the rapid growth Cottleville has been able to retain that small hometown charm.

Today the city is the home to St. Charles Community College, three Francis Howell schools and the largest catholic parish in the State of Missouri.

So as a City Administrator what are your responsibilities?

I am the Chief Administrative Officer and work directly for the Mayor and Board of Aldermen. I administer the day to day operations of the city government including: administration, police, municipal court, community development/public works and economic development. I enforce the laws and regulations approved by the elected officials and work closely with our other boards and commissions; Planning and Zoning, Historic Commission, Board of Adjustments, Parks and Recreation, Economic Advisory and others.

Talk to us about Cottleville’s police department.

We are very fortunate to have such a great police department. In many other departments they have to train their officers in community policing. In Cottleville it’s not a program or fad, it’s what we do. Our officers get to know many of the residents and business owners by name and officers often share cell phone numbers. Although our department is small (13-FT, 3-PT officers) we have such a presence in the community and that presence is multiplied when we have positive relationships with our residents and business owners who are looking out for their neighbors and contacting us when they see something out of the ordinary.

How is your campaign for Sheriff of St. Charles County progressing and what inspired you to run?

The campaign is going great. Filing will start on February 25th and Cottleville Mayor Jim Hennessey is hosting a “kick-off” reception that evening at Old Hickory. The part I don’t care for is asking people for money, but I guess its how our system of government works. These campaigns are very expensive and it takes a lot of money to get your message out particularly when a number of candidates are running for the same position.

I have the best job and I love it in Cottleville, but as I mentioned in a previous question I spend a majority of time doing non police related activities. I was the campaign Treasurer for our current Sheriff Tom Neer when he ran for re-election four years ago and when he told me he was going to retire at the end of his term I thought this was a great opportunity to get back to my law enforcement roots. Sheriff Neer has done a terrific job and the cooperation among the county and municipal departments has never been better and this position presented a new challenge.

If you get elected what are your plans and goals?

My first priority is to ensure that a smooth transition occurs when the new county police department splits from the sheriff’s department in January 2015. I want to insure that a strong sheriff department remains and that it is not gutted when the department splits.

Other goals would be a complete review of our security procedures. Courthouses all across America are seeing a dramatic increase in violent acts and threats on the judiciary. Courthouse violence doesn’t receive the same media attention that threats in the schools does and therefore leaves the public with the perception that it is less of a concern. Mixing victims, suspects, witnesses and emotional family members all together in the same building, rooms and hallways is an invitation for violent confrontations.

I want to bring the employees of the department together and empower them to have a voice in the future of the department. From my vantage point sitting on the outside looking in, it appears that portions of the sheriff’s department including the courts, civil process and others are being neglected. I see new helicopters, SWAT and bomb trucks etc…, but it appears some areas are still doing business they same way they have been doing it for 30 years. I will ask the deputies and civilian employees to work with me on developing a strategic plan and review how we are doing business today and how we will do it in the future. Can we incorporate technology and/or what tools are available to help us do our jobs more effective and efficiently?

I also plan to advocate for the employees of the sheriff’s department with the county administration and council. I disagree with the current classification of employees assigned to the courts, civil process and prisoner transport. Deputies assigned to these areas have dangerous jobs and deal with violent offenders on a daily basis, but are treated like second class citizens and I hope to change that.

If our readers want to help, how can they reach your campaign team?

I would love to have their help. They can e-mail me at scottalewis400@aol.com or call me at 314-605-0400 or message me on facebook.

What are your leisure time activities?

I spend as much time outdoors as possible. I love boating and camping. Our two younger sons are still active in sports and we enjoy watching them play. Alex plays football at Missouri Valley College and Adam plays football, baseball and basketball always has a game somewhere.

Thank you

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