Whiteside County deputy joins sheriff's race

ROCK FALLS – A third candidate for Whiteside County sheriff has launched his campaign, and is planning a meet-and-greet at the end of the week.

Whiteside County Deputy Mike Lewis, 46, of Rock Falls, a Republican, announced his intention to run June 9 on his Lewis for Sheriff Facebook page. He also issued a news release Friday.

He will be at the Tin Roof Tavern, 13464 Galt Road, at 5 p.m. Sunday in conjunction with a fundraiser for April House Children’s Advocacy Center and Jessie’s Mile.

Lewis, a 1990 graduate of Rock Falls High School, worked for 3 years at the Lanark Police Department before joining the sheriff’s department in late 2003. He works on the jail floor, and said he has worked in every section at the department. He also is a part-time Tampico police officer.

An off-duty vehicle crash on Nov. 18 left Lewis with an injured shoulder, and surgery in April has him on medical leave until August.

He studied criminal justice at Sauk Valley Community College, and attended the Police Academy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“I’m running for change for the citizens of the community. We’ve had so many things changing in society. I’m a young man, and I’ll be there for a long time,” Lewis said.

He served in the Army in Honduras during the Persian Gulf war, then worked at Northwestern Steel and Wire Co. in Sterling as a fourth-generation steelworker, Lewis said.

“I have seen enough over the years to know that if we are not doing more, what we’re doing is not enough – not for our fellow officers, not for our neighbors, and certainly not for the memory of those who wore the uniform before us,” he said in the release.

He plans to meet with community members in the coming months.

He and his wife, Shelly, have two children, Alan Lewis, 23, and Paige Lewis, 18.

Lewis is one of three people to announce their candidacies.

Former Rock Falls police officer Republican Tim Fisher, 46, of Rock Falls, announced June 28 that he will run. Sheriff’s Lt. John Booker, 30, a Democrat, announced his intention on May 16.

Booker was first hired by the department in 1998 and worked his way up the ranks as a patrol sergeant, then detective, and now is lieutenant and commander of the county’s SWAT team. Before that, he served as an officer with the Rock Falls, Prophetstown, Erie, Morrison and Tampico police departments.

Sheriff Kelly Wilhelmi, first appointed in 2008 to finish Roger Schipper’s term, has announced that he’s retiring and will not seek another term, and endorsed Booker, the man he defeated in the 2010 race.

Booker and Fisher also have Facebook pages: Search for Booker for Sheriff, and Tim Fisher to follow their campaigns.

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