(Stacey Tinsley, Bossier Press-Tribune)
Exclusive to the Bossier Press-Tribune
Bossier Press-Tribune Managing Editor, Stacey Tinsley, had the privilege to witness Bossier City’s new Chief of Police, Chris Estess, being sworn into office prior to the announcement being made at a Tuesday afternoon news conference.
Surrounded by family, friends and Bossier City officials, Provisional Bossier City Police Chief, Chris Estess, was sworn in as the new Bossier City Police Chief by the Honorable Santi Parks, Bossier City Court judge, on Tuesday, April 26.
On July 2, 2021, Bossier City Mayor Tommy Chandler announced that the current Chief of Police, Shane McWilliams, had been reassigned within the department. The reassignment was effective immediately and McWilliams no longer had the duties and responsibilities of the Chief of Police.
At that point, in a move that was also effective immediately, Bossier City Mayor Tommy Chandler designated Bossier City Police Sergeant Chris Estess as Director of Police Operations whereby Estess was to lead the Bossier City Police Department until a new Chief of Police could be appointed.
On July 6, 2021, it was announced that Chief Shane McWilliams was placed on paid administrative leave pending an internal affairs investigation regarding the violation of Bossier City Police Department policy. Furthermore, Sgt. Chris Estess was designated to serve as Substitute Chief of Police pending the outcome of the internal investigation.
In January of 2022, Mayor Chandler’s office announced that Chief Shane McWilliams was retiring from the Bossier City Police Department, effective immediately. Chief McWilliams served as the 14th Chief of Police for the City of Bossier City.
Provisional Bossier City Police Chief, Chris Estess, has continued to lead the Bossier City Police Department since that time until Mayor Chandler made the announcement of the new police chief at the Tuesday afternoon news conference.
As Previously reported by the Bossier Press-Tribune from an exclusive interview, Chris Estess began serving Bossier City in 1997. Following in his father’s footsteps, he entered the Bossier City Reserve Police Unit. In 1998, he realized that serving the city and its residents was his true passion. So in that same year, he became a full-time police officer. As he explained, “I felt a calling to serve the city.” For the majority of his career, he has worked as a patrol officer, as well as working in the K-9 Unit for five years.
On April 13, 1998, he was hired to be a full time police officer. Estess says, “Chief Dison stuck out his hand [to shake] and offered me a job. I could have done a backflip off of his desk, I was so excited.” That offer gave him a 28 year career that he is still grateful for. Estess continued, “Here we are in 2021, and who would have known that handshake back then would turn into this.”
In July of 2021, Chris Estess was given the opportunity to execute the principles instilled in him through the years when he was appointed as the Substitute Police Chief for the Bossier City Police Department.
Since earning the position, he has pledged to increase the support and the budget for the patrol units in Bossier City, as well as to reintroduce the K-9 Unit back into the department. Estess said, “The patrol division is a priority of mine. And, there is no way to put a number on how many times my dog has saved my life or another handler’s life.”
He says that one benefit that the city has been able to observe since the number of patrol officers has been increased is that each individual officer has more time to closely observe and prevent crime before it occurs. “These officers are becoming more proactive than reactive. Where each patrol officer was usually taking six to eight reports per day, they are now taking three to four [reports],” Estess explained.
Because of his intimate and personal experience working as a patrol officer, Chief Estess understands which resources the department requires in order to optimize its efficiency and coverage of the city, as well as understanding how to decrease the strain on each individual patrol officer. The wellbeing of every officer is crucially important because the largest cause of death for those within law enforcement is suicide. The suicide rate among law enforcement is most commonly induced by burnout or trauma from the experiences witnessed during the line of duty. “The patrol division of this organization, they are the backbone of this organization. They are the front line in defending the needs of our citizens,” said Estess.
When contemplating what has changed about Bossier City since he began serving the city, he commented on his disappointment in how the public presently perceives law enforcement officers. “You turn on the six o’clock news and it’s like the police are the bad guys. But when I was a kid, they were superheroes.”
In reference to how he personally perceives his duty as an officer, Estess gives the credit to his religion in saying “We have a tendency now to tear one another down, rather than build each other up. I believe that there is a higher power to give thanks to for the service and the people in your life.”
Estess concluded by saying, “Helping others is the greatest thing you can do. I really want to learn how to better serve all of our citizens. I’m not a perfect person, but my heart is in the right place. I love it here.”