Doña Ana County

DASO MOURNS DEATH OF VETERAN DEPUTY

DASO MOURNS DEATH OF VETERAN DEPUTY

Law enforcement and civilian staff are mourning the loss of longtime Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Deputy Donald J. Lewis, known to most as “D.J.”, who was found dead inside his home off Motel Boulevard Monday morning. He was 70.  

Lewis was hired at the sheriff’s department in September 1987 and earned his law enforcement certification on March 18, 1988. His tenure with the department began in 1974, when he volunteered with the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Auxiliary as a reserve deputy. 

He worked his way through the ranks to become a patrol sergeant, earning more than 80 certifications in various disciplines of law enforcement, including firearms marksmanship, DWI and drug interdiction, homicide investigations, domestic violence investigations, and hazardous materials incident analysis.  Most recently, Lewis worked in the Legal Division as a process server.  

“We are at a loss for words,” said Doña Ana County Sheriff Enrique “Kiki” Vigil. “D.J. was an icon of this department and was admired by everyone.”

Within the four decades he spent at DASO, Lewis had struggled with health issues and personal tragedy, losing his daughter Tiffany in 2007. He also battled cancer off and on for nearly 20 years, rarely missing work for chemotherapy treatments.

“D.J. had a long and profound presence in this department,” noted Capt. Manion Long, who first met Lewis in 1998. “He was proud of the uniform he wore, and provided a perfect example of how to carry yourself as an officer when faced with adversity.”

“It’s not often that you meet someone who leaves a wonderful impression on your life like D.J.,” recalled La Piñon Executive Director Donna Richmond, who worked for several years as a victim advocate with Lewis at the sheriff’s department. “No matter what he was going through personally, he picked himself up, put a smile on his face, and made sure that everyone he came in contact with felt important and appreciated.”

Services for Lewis will be held at 1:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 7, at Mesilla Park Community Church with full police honors.  

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Reporters seeking more information or interviews may call Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department Public Information Communication Specialist Kelly Jameson at (575) 386-4302.