BPSO ‘Cool Talk and Hot Coffee’ event builds community camaraderie

Photo of Bienville Parish Sheriff John Ballance, courtesy of Vicki Caskey

By Vicki Caskey

On March 30th Sheriff John Ballance and deputies held a “Cool Talk and Hot Coffee”. 

The goal of this meeting was community partnership and neighborhood camaraderie.

In an effort to enlighten the community, Ballance introduced all department heads and staff that were present. Each department head was given the floor to explain to the community the job of each department. 

Those who attended were informed of great information – information that could help in future situations should the need arise. Some of the areas of enlightenment included sex offenders, scamming, cyber bullying, youth unity, patrol is more than speeding tickets, the DARE program in our schools and so much more. 

Information on a new program to Bienville Parish, RUOK, was introduced. RUOK is designed to check on the elderly and homebound on a daily basis. The sheriff’s office and Bienville Council on Aging have partnered to provide this service free of charge
to those individuals who fill out a simple questionnaire providing information such as name, age, address, phone numbers, health issues and emergency contacts (relatives or neighbors).

Forms may be picked up at your local COA office (318-263-8936/1-800-200-6161) or contact the sheriff’s office at 318-263-2215 for assistance in receiving the forms. Each subscriber will be called via the computer aided phone system and if the phone
is not answered after three calls, a sheriff’s dispatcher will personally make an attempt to make contact via phone. If there is still no answer, an emergency contact will be called. If no one responds to the dispatcher’s call, a deputy will be dispatched to the subscriber’s residence.

The Warden of the Bienville Parish jail, Latricia Green, shared the compassion given to the criminals as they enter the jail. Hearing Warden Green speak about the inmates and how she and her staff truly try to make a difference in the lives of these inmates was heartwarming. It only takes one person to show kindness. That one act of kindness could be what a person struggling needs to turn their life around. 

Warden Green also shared the fact that the parish cannot house women inmates in Bienville parish. When a female prisoner comes through, they have to reach out to surrounding areas to find housing for them. This is a concern of the sheriff’s office and an issue that is being looked into. 

Sheriff Ballance and each of his department heads reminded everyone over and over through the event, your Sheriff, deputies and staff at the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s office are always accessible. Citizens are encouraged to contact the office with any criminal activity that needs reporting as well as assistance needed. No question is stupid. If you need an answer to a question they can help with, call and reach out.

The importance of the event came down to this:
– Our youth are important and our support of them is vital. 
– If something feels wrong to you, report it.
– Our patrol deputies are trying to keep us safe. They are more than speeding
– Feel like you have been a victim of scamming? Report it. 
– If you learn about a drug issue, report it. Report any suspicious activity. 

Our Sheriff, his Deputies and staff are there for US, the community.  If you’ve heard it once you’ve heard it 50 times, our Sheriff and his department heads all mentioned the Lord in various ways. All spoke of the importance of serving alongside a 98-100 percent Christian force. 

In regards to our youth, Deputy Starcorius Dyes referred to Ezekiel 22:30, “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.” He closed with this, “To change our youth we have to love them, stand up for them and protect them.” Let’s be the one to make a difference. 

Sheriff Ballance thanked everyone for attending and this was his closing statement,  “We are the authority, but we serve the ultimate authority.”

Pictured: BPSO Deputy Starcorius Dyes

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