It takes a lot of work to keep a growing parish moving in the right direction and it all starts with public safety.
“You can build new roads, bring in new industry and a strong military base, but people won’t come here if it’s not safe,” Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington said. “They won’t want to live here or send their kids to school here. That’s why we take our jobs so seriously.”
Whittington has learned exactly what the citizens of Bossier Parish expect from his office. There’s no real secret to it, other than gaining the public’s trust and respect.
“The people want law and order and it’s our duty to give them that. They pay for that, number one, and they support us. They believe us and put their trust in us.”
Statistics for 2016 show there were no homicides and the majority of crimes against people were usually between families or friends. Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office statistics reflect crimes in the unincorporated areas of the parish (excluding Bossier City, Benton, Haughton and Plain Dealing city limits).
Whittington singled out the number of residential burglaries, which was 40 in 2016.
“Numbers that low are unheard of. It’s incredible,” Whittington said. “You can go to any other parish and ask how many they have, I can promise you they’ll have more than 40.”
Several key factors play into keeping those numbers low, the first being patrol units.
“They are the first line of defense,” Whittington said. “I think our vacation patrol plays a big part of that and the posse does most of those checks. Neighborhood watch is something we do and have great communication with.”
One area that needs improving is the number of vehicle burglaries. Statistics show there were 120 car burglaries reported in 2016.
Whittington said most of those could have easily been prevented.
“By in large, it’s unlocked vehicles,” he said. “That is one thing that’s preventable if people would lock their cars and not leave valuables in their vehicle.”
With a growing parish come road related calls, specifically speeding, aggressive drivers, and inattentive drivers.
“We get a lot of traffic calls. We have six motorcycles that do nothing but traffic enforcement along with out regular deputies as well,” Whittington said. “I don’t see the traffic problems getting better anytime soon. We’ll just have to work with that as we continue to grow.”
Whittington also credits the teamwork mindset that city and parish leaders have.
“We do have a good team. Not just law enforcement, but our emergency response teams, fire, EMS, 9-1-1, too,” Whittington said. “We work together to get the job done. That’s what the people expect us to do so that’s what we do.”
Still, as the parish continue to grow, the Sheriff’s Office mission remains the same.
“We work hard every day for the people of Bossier Parish,” Whittington added. “This is a premier place to live, work and go to school. I don’t know why you’d want to live anywhere else.”