History du Jour
The Best of Times|February 2021
D. D. Bazer: Town Tamer
Lani Duke

As Shreveport entered the 20th century, it was a city rife with bribery, corruption, and prostitution. Citizens complained about lewd women throughout the city (not in their restricted district), loud music, public brawling, violence, crime, and cops drunk on duty, saying the city was more unruly than New Orleans and the police failed to respond to citizen complaints. A witness said he asked a policeman if he did not see laws being violated. The officer replied, “I see a d---d sight of things that I don’t see.” (Shreveport Times, Oct. 23, 1901)

Dennis Dear Bazer had been working in local law enforcement for some time, first with the Caddo Parish Sheriff ’s department. The Shreveport Journal noted that Bazer strengthened Police Chief Lucar’s detective department by joining the plainclothes list (Feb. 17, 1913) after more than a year in uniform.

Back to serving the community as a deputy sheriff, Bazer arrested people for bootlegging, “delivering dope,” family desertion, and more from 1914 to 1918. In December 1918, Bazer had become Shreveport’s Chief of Police.

On January 22, 1919, the Times reported that Bazer ordered his officers to arrest any unemployed people on the city’s streets. They were to arrest “all persons, male or female, black or white, wearing diamonds or overalls, make no distinctions, who are not employed at useful occupations.”

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