Similar to the task force that the Shreveport Police Department have already implemented, the Bossier City Police Department and Bossier Sheriff's Office will begin their armed robbery task force Friday as holiday shopping begins.
Bossier City and all of Bossier Parish will be under extra watchful eyes for the holiday season beginning Black Friday and continuing through at least the beginning of next year.
The armed robbery task force puts additional officers out on the streets. "The officers sole purpose is to patrol retail establishments, shopping centers, parking lots," Mark Natale, Bossier City spokesman, explained to us. The goal is for officers to be a presence in the city and deter crime.
Overall, Bossier Parish, historically, does not see many armed robberies, but if one does occur the chief of police and sheriff will have units in place.
Ed Baswell, Bossier Sheriff's Office spokesman, explained that Sheriff Larry Deen puts marked and unmarked vehicles out in the parish. "We are anywhere and everywhere. You will not be able to pick where we'll be." Natale explained that the additional police officers undercover and in uniform allow for a quick response if an armed robbery occurs.
Officers will be patrolling businesses, which could even include them keeping a watchful eye from a cooler in the back of a convenience store. Natale said that this armed robbery task force has been going on for 24 years in Bossier City. "We feel it is a very good deterrent of crime during the holiday season."
The police department and sheriff's office will coordinate throughout the holiday season between the two armed robbery task forces. "We want to blanket this whole parish with law enforcement people, and that's the idea with them having a task force and us having one, too," Baswell explained.
To help protect your own personal safety, authorities suggest that shoppers use situational awareness as they are out and about this holiday season. Be observant and know who is around you. Do not carry too many packages at once that will completely occupy your hands. Carry a cell phone with you in case something happens.