Tom Lewis

Former Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis has been appointed Interim Police Chief in the city of Clewiston.

PUNTA GORDA — Former Punta Gorda Police chief Tom Lewis has been named the interim chief of police in the city of Clewiston.

Lewis was hired as a full-time police officer for Clewiston at the rank of sergeant in March 2021 — his first full-time position as an officer since he was fired as Punta Gorda Police chief in August 2017 following the death of Mary Knowlton.

Knowlton, a 73-year-old retired librarian from Michigan, was killed by a Punta Gorda Police officer in an Aug. 9, 2016, community demonstration.

Clewiston representatives announced the resignation of their now former police chief Aaron Angell May 26. Angell’s resignation became effective June 1.

Lewis’ role as Clewiston interim chief took effect June 2 as the city searches for a permanent replacement for Angell.

“I am confident that the citizens of Clewiston will be well-served with Tom’s law enforcement administration background,” said Clewiston City Manager Randy Martin in the press release.

“I am pleased a person with his (Lewis’) experience is available and has agreed to step into this vitally important transitional leadership role for the department.”

Lewis was hired as a reserve police officer for the city of Clewiston in August 2020 before becoming full-time in March.

Among the questions in the Clewiston application, Lewis wrote that he has more than 20 years of experience in law enforcement and in many different areas of a police department, including patrol, detective, supervisor, instructor, commander and administration.

He also admits to having been dismissed or asked to resign, having been the subject of an Internal Affairs investigation, and being the subject of formal criminal or non-criminal complaint.

Explanation of those admissions were attached in documents not provided by the city of Clewiston; however, they do reference Lewis’ time at the Punta Gorda Police Department.

Lewis was named Punta Gorda Police chief in March 2016.

For his new position as interim chief, Lewis said the Clewiston Police Department will stay focused on serving the area’s citizens and “providing the best service in South Florida.”

“I appreciate the trust and responsibility to lead the men and women of the agency in this capacity,” he said in the press release.


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