When Bossier City police officer Trey Hutchison was murdered while answering a domestic violence hang up 911 call on August 11, 2004, the entire city and area was in shock and mourning. On the day of his funeral people lined the route from First Baptist Bossier to Hillcrest cemetery to show their love and support for his family and for his memory. My sister, brother-in-law and I found a spot in the corner of the mall right by the church.
We all have memories that will live with us until we die. One memory that is engraved in my soul is the image of Chief Halphen driving Officer Hutchison’s car at the head of the procession as it left the church, followed by the entire Bossier City Police force and by officers representing police departments and sheriffs all around the region and state.
Now, each year the Caddo/Bossier Domestic Violence Task Force honors one Caddo and one Bossier law enforcement officers with the Trey Hutchison award for outstanding performance in the field of domestic violence prevention.
In a bitter twist of irony, the award ceremony this year was held on October 17th. This is the day that Mayor Walker chose to announce his plan to eliminate 40 positions from the police departments, 40 from the fire department, and 37 other positions spread around different city departments.
Some things go beyond the budget and beyond politics. When these officers were hired and trained they were repeatedly asked if they were willing to give a total commitment to the City of Bossier City and to the people of Bossier. In every case, they unhesitatingly made that commitment.
Now the question has been reversed: what commitment has the city made to these men and women who promised to serve, even at risk of their own lives?
That question has yet to be answered.
Then came the storms
As if a sign, a couple of weeks after the announcement Bossier City and the area were wracked by tornadoes, storms and floods. Guess who was on the frontlines, working for days with 3 or 4 hours sleep, giving everything they had to keep the people of Bossier City safe?
One of the officers told the story of ‘a woman and her two kids that got their car stuck in all of the water at the entrance to Old Greenacres. He and another officer got her and two kids out of the car in water up past their knees and then pushed her car out of the water. She just cried and told them thank you and that she did not know what she would have done if they had not been there.’
Hopefully she can find time to attend the city council meeting Tuesday at 3pm and make her feelings known.
This officer made the statement that “I will continue to put on my badge and do my job until I'm told that I'm not needed anymore.”
Another of the officers who is due to be laid off noted that there “Must be a lot of out-of-towners in Bossier, cause no way a bossier city citizen would cuss me like I've been cussed tonite while directing traffic in the rain.”
On a lighter note, he also said “If a police officer is directing traffic in a manner that you consider incorrect, honk at him. He will realize your superior knowledge and allow you through!”
This says a lot about the character of the people who have been chosen to serve. Now we are waiting to see if the character of the people who are being served can match that.
There will be a city council meeting Tuesday at 3pm at City Hall. If you feel strongly that politics should be put aside and that the City should make a commitment to keep these officers and firemen, try to attend the meeting and let your feelings be known, if only by your presence.
If you have not yet contacted the council, email us at this link and we will be glad to pass on your email to them.