Sunday, November 8, 2009

Some things are worth paying for

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.


  1. Great article!!! Support the Police and Fire Departments!!! Don't forget 3 years from now. We need a clean sweep of the city administration/council.

  2. AMEN, no one every seems to appreciate the police until you are in need of help, otherwise they are cussed make fun of like how many police does it take to write a ticket, well you never know who the person or persons inside the vehicle is and will they start shooting or resisting. How many of you turn your head due to I don't want to get involved because you might get hurt? I'm sure we are not hearing half the abuse the public gives them. Police have a very stressful and thankless job and believe it or not they still respond to all your calls when you need help. I pray we never have another incident like Trey Hutchinson, but I would like to know when they go answer a call they know back up is on the way. Obviously the ones that even entertain the cuts being suggested at the police and fire level have never done that job. PLEASE take an hour or two off work and attend the City Council Meetings on Tuesday @1500 3:00pm and support the men and women that have served and protected our city. I believe the cuts will put the lives of the public and fellow police and fire personnel in danger. If the police and fire personnel have been asked not to come to these meeting then everyone else in this city should be there for them. Spread the word for friends and family to attend. Remember you might need them one day or night and you will be on a waiting list or some one will have to decide the priority of your call for help. The money was mismanaged and no ones job should be on the line for someones mismanagement. It is time for outside audits and see where the money went and where we need to cut without adding to the unemployment.

  3. Jim
    My grandfather retired with badge #1 from the Alexandria Police department. I grew up as a child seeing what a police officer has to put up with in his or her day to day work. He was respected and loved by those who knew him. He walked a downtown beat for years.
    One night a drunk attacked him with a two-by-four and broke his shoulder. He had to shoot and unfortunately kill the man or be killed him self. There was no investigation or paid leave. He went back to work when his shoulder healed under the strong protest of my grandmother. His answer was..."Someone has to do the job." He served longer than any
    policeman on the Alexandria force up until he retired. The older policeman who have retired and are alive, still talk about his dedication...90% of the time they get a bum rap. We would be in even sadder shape without them.
    It seems that when politicians want to cut cost, the most important factions go first.
    Bou they never cut their pay
    or lay themselves off,do they?

  4. i see shreveport is considering giving away $1,000 bucks a pop to city employees as a bonus. the reason they are able to do this, and bossier is on the other end of the spectrum, is due to financial mismanagement in bossier---a convenient excuse is to blame the recession of course-not hearing that across the river

  5. Bossier City police and fire are excellent - but we have too many - see sadow's article in the fax net - we have almost 100 more than cities bigger than us - does not make sense - everyone has to do more with less - we need to get leaner than we are - its not personal - its prudent - they should not have been hired in the first place - that i blame on the council and mayor - never should have led these good men and women down that road

  6. By Dr. Jeff Sadow, Ph.D.

    Bossier City was in 2008 employing 461 police and fire personnel with a population of 62,384, up from 381 for a population of 56,466 in 2000, a 21% increase. Compare this to Lake Charles’ 71,061 population with 384 such employees, and Kenner’s 65,202 people served by 364 such workers.
    This is why Walker has said he would eliminate 80 jobs in the public safety area, because it was that area that was over-staffed relatively, which only would set the city back to its 2000 level and still have it, on a per capita basis, exceed the levels of these other two cities (data for Monroe and Alexandria were not available). But this really isn’t the main part of the gap between revenues and expenditur.
    That comes from the enormous amount of debt the city has taken on since 2007, tripling it from about $104 million in 2006 to $317 million in 2008. (Of the other four cities, they range from $58 million to $168 million or so ­- Monroe ­- in debt.)
    Dr. Jeff Sadow is an associate professor of political science at LSUS. His views are his own. E-mail:

  7. I don't mean to be rude but maybe you should ask some of the people who were recently helped by the police and fire dept. if they feel there were too many people working. Like a few of the people who were pulled from their cars that stalled due to flood waters. Maybe you could ask someone who lives in the condo complex that caught on fire due to the tornado on Benton Rd. You may feel that for our size our city is over staffed, but you also have to look at the crime rates and emergency response times. If our city had an abundance of police officers there would have been no need to put EVERYONE on 12 hour shifts with no days off. People who usually work behind a desk were working the streets. Anyone can look at spread sheets and talk numbers but look at the city, really look at. If your wife or daughter was going to go shopping during the holidays after dark alone would you prefer she do it Bossier or Shreveport. I may be wrong but I suspect most people would answer Bossier and there is a reason for that.

  8. Our city was wise to invest in the high numbers of police and firemen that we have. This allows growth to happen that you don't see anywhere else in Louisiana.

    We are safe and secure and our crime numbers are very low. Our police officers are well trained and do an excellent job.

    Why in the world would we want to be like lake charles or Monroe? I mean for pete's sake, we got a cyber command, they don't have one of those. Bossier needs to maintian its reputation that it is tough on crime.

    Reducing the number of police will lead to more crime and that will lead to a whole nuther area of problems. We should actually be thinking about increasing the number of fire and police as this is the most critical service that our city provides.

    In bad economic times we should cut out the millions that the city is giving Non-Governmental Organizations. These guys are getting a huge chunk of the cities money. Most of these are funded just to get votes (council on aging--does anyone really need to know how to age?)

    We should get the state to reimburse us for cybercommand. maybe some stimulii money could do this.

    We should cut some jobs at the top. Do we really need that many people making over $80,000.00 as administrators? I mean, they can't even balance a budget. Didn't we just go through this with our state reps (we want a raise, but we don't want to do our job)
    Three part time accounting students would do better that what we have now and be about 1/10th of the cost. If their grade depended on getting a balanced budget done, then they would ahve a better chance of producing a quality budget than the guys we have now.

    Our police do a great job and they should be given a raise--they should hire about fifty more fire and police men this year and then cut adminstrative jobs at the top.

    If not, we should clean house and only elect fisical conservatives who are not afraid of shrinking city government. None of the guys on the council have come up with any ideas to shrink city government and it is unlikely that this bunch has it in them to cut any programs.

    I disagree with a recent opinion article that said we should know better and we should attend meetings. A representative form of government is just that, they go to the meetings for me and you and they vote in the most appropriate way. This has not happened. THey go to the meetings, hope no one shows up and then they give each others friends jobs and raises and then blame us for not getting their three weeks ago to speak.

    "your days of honoring yourself are numbered" Maximus


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