How safe is Bossier? Forum talks law enforcement across parish

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Bossier Parish Sheriff Julian Whittington speaks at the Public Safety Forum on Oct. 9 at Shane's in Bossier City. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

Law enforcement and community leaders showcased how they are making Bossier Parish the safest area in northwest Louisiana during a special forum Wednesday.

Community leaders, local law enforcement and the community came together at the Bossier Chamber of Commerce’s State of Public Safety luncheon at Shane’s Seafood in Bossier City Oct. 9.

Bossier Parish Sheriff Julian Whittington told attendees that one of the top complaints his office handles is reckless driving. He notes that traffic citations have increased by 83%.

“In the first nine months of last year we had roughly 8,500 traffic stops. For the first nine months of this year we had 15,385,” Sheriff Whittington said. “It’s not about money, but we all know what it takes to improve the safety out on the highways and traffic enforcement is part of it.”

Marshal Jim Whitman said even though his staff is small, it is dedicated.

Judge Mike Nerren speaks at the State of Public Safety forum Oct. 9 in Bossier City. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

“I’d like to think that what we lack in quantity we make up for it in quality because we have some really dedicated deputies that are really good at what they do,” Whitman said. “We apprehended about eight or nine perverts about three weeks ago and we got a couple more the past couple of days. I love putting those guys in jail, that’s an important part of what we do.” 

Bossier/Webster District Attorney Schuyler Marvin told the audience that the Northwest Louisiana Crime Lab is a tremendous part of law enforcement, saying, “There are many crime labs throughout the southern part of the state, but the Northwest Louisiana lab is and always has been accredited. And, nowhere else in the state can say that” said Marvin.

Concluding Wednesday’s forum was 26th Judicial District Court Judge Mike Nerren. He noted that judges are thorough, fair and committed. 

Bossier Chamber President Lisa Johnson introduces the State of Public Safety forum Oct. 9 in Bossier City. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

“Our judges are fair and our judges believe in giving the defendant an opportunity to present his or her case. Our judges believe in being conservative and looking at what is important to determine an appropriate sentence,” said Nerren. 

Lisa Johnson, President and CEO of Bossier Chamber of Commerce, said it takes the community working together for it to maintain the high level of safety it is known for.

“Law enforcement is not something that everyone talks about and we take it for granted and we appreciate you all that are out there on the front lines that are protecting us and serving us,” she said.

Sheriff Whittington echoed this by noting the various public agencies his staff works with on a daily basis.

“We know that people want to work, live, and raise families here. Our public officials and public agencies that we work with on a daily basis are awesome — the Bossier Parish School system, Bossier City Police Department, Bossier Parish Police Jury, Bossier City Marshal’s Office, Louisiana State Police, the (26th Judicial District) DA’s office, judges,” said Whittington.

Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker said he has never seen another parish work together so well.

“I get asked a lot of times what makes Bossier City and Bossier Parish so much different and I have never seen another parish where the public officials, elected officials, and law enforcement work together like they do here. It’s rare. We got something great going,” said Walker.