A day in the life of a Bossier Police Juror

3138
Bossier Parish Administrator Bill Altimus speaks to the Bossier Parish Police Jury during a February meeting. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

Explaining what the Bossier Parish Police Jurors and the parish administrator do

By Stacey Tinsley, stinsley@bossierpress.com

While they make decisions that shape the present and future of Bossier Parish, how many people know what a Bossier Parish Police Juror and the Parish Administrator is, let alone what they do?

The Police Jury is the legislative and administrative body of the parish, comprised of 12 representatives from districts elected by voters. Its members are called Jurors, and together they elect a President as their chairman. The President presides over the Police Jury and serves as the titular head of the parish government.

Meanwhile, the Parish Administrator manages the overall, day-to-day operations of the Parish. His boss is the 12 Police Jurors and they manage more than 300 people who work in an area that’s bigger than 800 square miles. Think a mayor, but for all of the parish instead of a single city. 

Meet, Bossier Administrator Bill Altimus and Dist. 4 Police Juror Norman Craig.

Altimus served on the Bossier Parish Police Jury for District 9 from 1997-2011. He was appointed by the police jury to serve as Parish Administrator in June of 2002. 

“Our mission at the Police Jury is to meet the needs of every citizen of Bossier Parish and to continue to improve our quality of life. I am excited about the future of our parish. We welcome suggestions and urge citizens to stay in touch with us,” Altimus said.

Dist. 4 Police Juror Norman Craig shows off a sandbagging machine. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

Craig represents the largest district in Bossier Parish and is the newest juror. A “lifelong” resident of Bossier Parish. He is a veteran of the Marines and a retired Bossier Sheriff’s deputy. He is also a former school resource officer and DARE officer, as well as former commanding officer of the Sheriff’s Young Marines program.

“Being a Police Juror has been a wonderful opportunity to serve the people of my district and to work with the other police jury members to keep Bossier Parish moving ahead,” Craig said. “I am also currently looking into bringing two businesses into my District to bring more economic stability to the area.”

Both Altimus and Craig take their jobs seriously, spending a minimum of 40 hours per week in the office and also completing various tasks in the field, such as being “the face of the Bossier Parish Police Jury and/or District” at public events.

As administrator, Altimus is responsible for everything from receiving calls from the community when there is flooding issues to a pipe bursting behind the parish courthouse. He has to be Bossier Parish’s “jack of all trades, go to guy.”

When it comes to the parish, Craig and his fellow jurors are responsible to perform and maintain duties associated with the executive and legislative branches of parish government. 

Duties of the jury include maintenance of parish roads, bridges and drainage systems, regulation of traffic on parish roads, adoption of subdivision regulations, zoning regulations relative to the most appropriate use of property, and maintenance of parish parks.

In order to facilitate an orderly handling of specific issues, the police jury currently has over 15 standing committees to review items prior to consideration by the full body. Each member of the police jury is on at least two committees. 

“In regular or special meetings, the police jury authorizes new projects, receives recommendations from the various standing and special committees, receives reports from the various parish departments and takes action as required,” Craig said.

The Police Jury also adopts ordinances and resolutions which regulate many matters affecting public safety, health, convenience and good order of the parish, and takes all other action incidental and necessary for Bossier Parish as a whole. 

“The Police Jury is responsible for a wide variety of functions, and has many responsibilities and considerable authority with reference to the operation of the Parish,” Altimus said.