Ferriday police officer Bo Stevens, who was awarded his Criminal Justice degree from Louisiana College last month, has been named Ferriday interim police chief by Mayor Rydell Turner.
Turner administered the oath of office to Stevens on May 26.
“We are excited about having Bo as our police chief,” Turner said. “He is well-deserving; a great guy and he works well with the community and kids.”
Stevens had applied for the position when Turner took office last year.
“It was a surprise,” Stevens said. “When they called me Wednesday I was getting ready to come on shift at 5. It was around 2 and they called me wanted to meet with me. When I came in they advised me that Mayor Turner wanted me to be chief. I told they yes, indeed.”
Stevens graduated from Natchez High in 1992. His family moved around from Ferriday, Ridgecrest and Vidalia his early years before residing in Natchez.
“I joined the Marine Corps and served five years before being honorably discharged,” Stevens said. “I was a telephone and switchboard technician. I thought about going to Bellsouth but they didn’t have any openings except in Atlanta.”
When Stevens returned to Ferriday, his desire was to be a police officer like his uncle, Ricky Stevens.
“I always looked up to him and wanted follow in his footsteps,” Stevens said. “But I never could get my foot in the door anywhere.”
In 2010, Stevens was working with his mother and stepfather at the donut shop in Ferriday when Buddy Rouse came in and asked him to be a police officer.
“I told him I had been trying to do that,” Stevens said.
Former Ferriday Police Chief Kenneth Hedrick began a reserve officer program for volunteers.
“I did that for about a month, and then Chief Hedrick put me on as a building checker at night,” Stevens said. “A month later he sent me to the academy.”
Stevens served as School Resource Officer at Ferriday Junior High for six years.
About three-and-a-half years ago. Stevens said a recruiter from Louisiana College stopped in Ferriday, offering residents an on-line program.
“A lot of officers and dispatchers enrolled in it,” Stevens said. “I always wanted to go back and get my degree, but never had the opportunity. So I said, ‘Why not now,’ Out of all of us who enrolled, I was the only one who stayed in.”
Stevens, who will be 48 on July 1, said has to complete three classes on line to finish, but because those classes are core classes he was allowed to walk and receive his degree in Criminal Justice.
“I will finish those classes this summer,” he said.
Stevens said he always planned to be working at the Ferriday Police Department, but never planned on being police chief.
“Before school I was never interested in being chief, but after going through some of the classes in administration and some of the things I had to go through in Criminal Justice, the more I had a desire to be chief.”
Stevens said one of his major goals is to have unity between the police department and the community.
“I want us to work together,” he said. “I don’t think the community, at large, realized how much the police department relies on them to help fix situations happening in the community.”
Stevens said he would also like to hire officers from the community.
“I want to bring in some of these young guys that are here and try to introduce them to policing,” he said. “They already have a connection to community and a pulse to what is happening in the community. I want to give them the opportunity to be successful in a career that they can make lifelong. I’ve already got a couple of young guys who have contacted me since I became chief.”
Stevens said another top priority is young people with guns in the town.
“I know we have issues with kids and guns that we have to take care of,” he said. “I don’t know where that came from. It wasn’t something we had a big problem with before, but here the last couple of years it’s become a big issue. And we’re going to do our best to solve that issue.”
The Ferriday Board of Aldermen will now vote on taking the interim title off of Stevens; name.
“I would love to be police chief permanently,” he said.
Stevens is a familiar face at Ferriday sporting events, following the teams and mingling with students and fans.
“My heart is for the kids,” he said. “I want to see them succeed and help them to succeed.”
Stevens and his wife, Krystal, have three children — Tyler Smith, who lives in Indiana, Justin Stevens, who works for the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office, and Alyexis Stevens, who lives in Ferriday.
“I will be out and available to the community,” Stevens said. “I will listen to the people, work with them and fix any issues they may have going on.”