Chris Estess began serving Bossier City in 1997, when he entered the Reserve Police Unit, following in his father’s legacy. In 1998, he realized that serving the city and its residents was his true passion. So, he became a full-time police officer in that year. He explained, “I felt a calling to serve the city.” He has worked for the majority of his career as a patrol officer, as well as working in the K9 Unit for five years.
On April 13, 1998, he was accepted to be a full time police officer. Estess says, “Chief Dyson 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 commitment 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.”
An anecdote that he enjoyed sharing was one of Chief Dyson, his former supervisor, who relieved him of the responsibility of swimming into the Red River on one fateful day to retrieve a cow carcass. The Chief took the duty upon himself. And, Estess remarks that Dyson’s actions that day taught the former rookie that a Chief (or any sort of superior) should never put themselves above anyone else or anything else. “A job doesn’t define me. A title like son, like husband, like dad. Those titles mean more to me than anything I can draw a paycheck for,” said Estess in explaining how important it is to put loved ones above all else. He continued, “I miss the days when I could call my mom.”
In July of 2021, Chris Estess would be 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 reintroduce the K9 Units back into the department. Estess said, “The patrol division is a priority of mine. And, there’s 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 increase in patrol officers 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 officer a day, they’re 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, most commonly induced by burnout or trauma from experiences witnessed during the line of duty. “The patrol division of this organization, they’re the backbone of this organization. They are the front lines of defending the needs of our citizens,” said Estess.
When contemplating what has changed about Bossier 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 for the service and the people in your life.”
As for any new and upcoming events coordinated by the Bossier City Police Department, officers and volunteers were dispatched to assist in the recovery and aid of those affected by Hurricane Ida. The department has been mandating leadership training for all supervisors. Media tours have been taking place so that law enforcement can connect and communicate more closely with the community. And, Chief Estess describes it as, “a day to have fun.” The department has also been working closely with the Keep Bossier Beautiful organization to clean portions of Interstate-20, Airline Drive, and several blocks of East Texas Street.
The Police Department has also been working to strengthen their connections with many of their partners in the Shreveport-Bossier area such as: Barksdale Air Force Base, the NAACP, and the Shreveport Police Department. As a result of these relations, when a female officer was transported to the Touro Infirmary LCMC Health in New Orleans, the different organizations (and the departments within them) came together in solidarity and dispatched escorts to comfort and assist the officer during her recovery. “All the organizations escorted Officer Tracey and her ambulance all the way. It’s about being a decent human being to somebody. You never know, it’ll come back twelvefold,” said the chief.
Estess concluded by saying, “Helping others is the greatest thing you can do. I really want to learn how to serve all citizens better. I’m not a perfect person, but my heart’s in the right place. I love it here.”