Wanda Bennett has had a front row seat and a hand in the recent successes seen in Bossier. She views her time on the Bossier Parish Police Jury as a blessing.
“I’ve had so many wonderful opportunities to to bring us into the future and where we need to be. Why I have been blessed like this, I don’t know. But I’m so thankful for that because when I look back, I look back with pride,” said Bennett.
Bennett’s time on the police jury ends on Jan. 1, 2020. She chose not to run for re-election this fall.
Since her election to the Bossier Parish Police Jury in 2008, Bennett has served Bossier Parish in a myriad of capacities.
“I’m so pleased and so proud that Bossier has come so far,” she said. “We have had the leadership throughout the parish, leadership on all levels that have worked together for so well to make that happen. And I’m very, very proud to be a small, small part of all of that.”
In addition to her time on the police jury, Bennett also served on the Bossier City Council from 1977 until 1989.
She also directed Bossier Parish’s 911 emergency service for 14 years and was influential in the implementation of an emergency call network throughout all of the parish. She also served as state president of the Association of Public Safety communications Officials-International, the oldest and largest organization of public safety communications professionals and she also functioned as state president of the National Emergency Number, a professional network focused on the issues of 911 communication, policy, technology and education.
Wanda is well respected among her peers for a “can do” attitude that she has used across her lengthy career.
A career that includes seeing such achievements as the launch of the Cyber Innovation Center and National Cyber Research Park, the establishment of a parish-wide waste water system, new major roads, and a slew of quality of life improvements and projects.
“When CIC started up, it took several years. It didn’t move as fast as people thought it would. We had to hold our faith that it would be there because of Barksdale being here,” she said, looking back. “CIC had a really important part in training our people for new, future jobs. It was very self satisfying to have our citizens have those advantages they didn’t have to leave here to go and be a part of something. I think we are taking care of our people. It’s taken years to do it, but you have to take little steps to get to what you want.”
To her those same people in Bossier Parish, she simply said, “Thank you.”
“Thank you for letting me serve,” Bennett said. “I can see this police jury continuing to take the steps to make us ready (for the future). I really feel like they are prepared. Our citizens and residents here deserve the best we can give them.”
She hopes her legacy in public service is someone who loved Bossier City and Bossier Parish.
“I hope that I helped to make it a better place,” said Bennett.
Bennett was born in Marshall, Texas and raised in north Louisiana. A graduate from Bossier High School, she continued her educational pursuits by completing professional studies at Bossier Parish Community College, Louisiana State University-Shreveport, and Centenary College of Louisiana.
She was married to her late husband, Ernest “Bo” Bennett, until his passing in 2014. They were blessed with three children, five grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and a host of extended family and friends.
“This is where my family is, so I want them to have the best opportunities to be offered to them. It gives me a thrill in my heart that is hard to explain to people. But, it’s a good feeling to know that I’ve been a part of all of this,” said Bennett. “Nobody every does it alone. It took so many people over so many years to bring us to where we are today.”