Deen said he had been formulating a plan to protect Bossier Parish’s vital resources, like food and gasoline, in the event of a catastrophic event, such as war or a terrorist attack. Deen said he had been thinking of the plan since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Local residents may remember then-President George W. Bush’s address to the nation was made out of Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City immediately after the attacks. At that time, Deen’s men and about 100 other patrol cars barricaded entry to the base to protect the president from what turned out to be the nonexistent threat of an assault on the base.
Deen’s office contacted more than 300 parish residents it thought would be useful during a similar emergency. Two hundred were chosen. Most of these people are ex-police officers and sheriff’s office deputies that the sheriff’s office was familiar with, Deen said.
Under the plan, these volunteers, supplemented with active public safety personnel, will be dispatched to vital areas in Bossier to protect them from looters or rioters. Deen listed as examples food inside grocery stores and gasoline in gasoline stations, not to mention protecting hospitals and other public meeting places.
These volunteers will be armed by the sheriff’s office, using, among other things, shotguns, riot shields and batons. The members are mostly white men. Five are black. Women involved will only be used in “support roles,” Deen said, which indicated non-combat activity. One of their first official training sessions was Feb. 20 when they learned basic hand-to-hand combat techniques.