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From Chief of Police to Shepherding God’s People

by Ruth Ann Ruiz
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By Ruth Ann Ruiz

The Post Newspaper Features Editor 

Rev Eugene A Lewis II has walked through life at a steadfast pace. In his steadfastness, he has accomplished a mountain of impressive experiences that have benefited the lives of many people in Galveston County.

He, like President Theodore Roosevelt, walked quietly and caried a big stick. His voice is barely audible, which is a technique he developed to deescalate the drama that was part of his daily encounters in law enforcement. “If I speak softly, it forces people to slow down and pay attention to what I am saying,” explained Lewis. 

To become a police officer Lewis had to defy his father’s wishes and the pleas of other extended family members. “Back then the Black community didn’t have a lot of trust in law enforcement,” explained Lewis.

His love of law enforcement, like his pattern for living, was steadfast and grew gradually out of his experiences in boy scouts and other leadership roles at school. One evening he watched an episode of “Adam-12” which featured Explorer Scouts. Well, young Lewis called up the Galveston Police Department to inquire about their Explorer Scouts. Next thing you know, Lewis was an Explorer Scout with GPD.

Lewis grew up riding his bicycle across the island and knew where all the great fishing places existed. His parents sent him to Alamo Elementary. He took the city bus to get to school and recalls fondly the quality of Galveston’s bus service. He was in his first-grade classroom when President Kennedy was assassinated. 

When his parents divorced, he went for a bit to live with his grandmother. His father relocated to Houston where he worked as a respiratory therapist. His mother remarried and then all the children were reunited at home with their mom and stepdad whom young Eugene respected. 

His bond with his father was strong and his father, Eugene Lewis, Sr.,  came to Galveston frequently for fishing adventures with his eldest son. Little Lewis took the bus from Broadway in Galveston up to Houston so he could spend time with his father about twice a month. 

If it weren’t for that episode of “Adam-12,” the county may have never known the leadership and security skills of Officer Lewis. He was being groomed to follow in his father’s footsteps and had thought he would go into the medical field. Because he was an Explorer Scout, he was keeping his eye on going into law enforcement. 

Just out of high school, Lewis entered the Police Academy. “They assigned me to be an internist after the academy till I turned 19, then I was a street cop,” shared Lewis. 

After 11 years with GPD, Lewis was tapped to establish and  lead the newly formed GISD police force. During his tenure as Chief of Police for GISD, he saw some of Galveston’s current leaders in law enforcement come to his department. Constable Jimmy Fullen once worked under Lewis and Galveston Chief of Police Doug Bali was the liaison with the city police and the school district. 

Working as an expert in protecting students while they attend school became his career path. With 15 years as chief at GISD, he was being called on for his expertise in school safety throughout the nation. Though he took several speaking assignments and conducted seminars across the nation, he stayed close to home and served 2.5 years as Director at Region IV Education Service Center in Houston, serving 54 public school districts. Rounding out his law enforcement career he served as Chief of Police at Alvin ISD. 

He has retired from his formal roles and now shares his wealth of knowledge as a consultant and guest speaker. Keeping kids and adults safe is second nature to Lewis and as he goes deeper into the subject his voice rises as he suggests ways to stay safe in a crisis.

“One of the things we always taught kids and teachers, ‘don’t go see what’s happening, go the opposite direction. Be alert, be aware. Don’t be so quick to get involved with things that you don’t need to be tending to. You hear gunshots, you get down. You go shopping, always look around you know your exits,’” these are some of the guidance points Lewis shared. 

As he flips through the mountain of career memories held in photographs, there are photos of Lewis with prominent leaders of the 80’s and 90’s including Barbra Bush, Jessie Jackson, and several other well-known leaders. But he doesn’t pause on those pages; nope, he pauses and reminisces on the pages filled with young people who he had the honor of influencing. 

There’s the group of Explorer Scouts from one of his years in law enforcement and he points to the ones who became constables and police officers. Then he flips to a page with the students from Galveston’s middle schools who participated in Jr. ROTC. His most treasurable memories are time spent uplifting students so that they too could one day live life in a steadfast manner. 

Giving back to the community was his way of life, as he and his wife took in numerous foster children and at times they reached out and offered themselves as mentors and reliable sources for young people in desperate situations. They were married back when Lewis was just starting his career as a street cop. They have raised four children into adulthood and have two still at home. 

Some point after retiring from law enforcement, Lewis heard God’s call to be a minister and has held several head pastor roles in Galveston County. Currently he is serving as associate pastor at Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church.

The main difference between being a preacher and being a police officer is that now he gets to do more talking with the people. “I don’t have to lock anyone up, I get to talk them through their problems which are the same type of problems as when I was in law enforcement,” shared Lewis. 

His faith  runs deep within his life and soul; he was baptized at the age of 6 at West Point Baptist Church in Galveston. Attending church on Sunday was an all-day affair for young Lewis. “We went to Sunday School and Worship service then there was always something after worship that pertained to church. Plus, my Boy Scouts was held at the church,” shared Lewis.

His love of God and his passion for people prompted him to create a life coaching ministry that focuses on Bible based solutions for life’s problems. He practices his ministry and faith in the same steadfast, sincere manner that has carried him throughout his life. 

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