LaGrange police go the extra mile

Published 7:54 pm Monday, October 14, 2019

Over the weekend, we published a story on LaGrange Police Chief Lou Dekmar presenting results of ongoing outreach efforts in the community at a LaGrange City Council meeting. 

Those efforts, along with help from community partners, are community focused and based on helping LaGrange citizens. 

For example, the LPD has started allowing individuals charged with certain misdemeanors to bond out of jail on the weekends, instead of having to sit and wait until Monday. 

He used the example of someone charged with an open container, or a similar crime.

While that person did break the law, they did not do anything egregious, and they still need a job.  So, instead of sitting in jail until Monday, when there is a hearing, and losing their job for not coming into work on Saturday, LPD cites, processes and releases the suspect quickly. 

Dekmar also gave an update on the LPD’s car care program, which allows officers to give residents a coupon for simple car repairs. 

For instance, if you get pulled over for a tail light that’s out, the LPD will give you a coupon to a local auto store instead of writing a ticket.

Of course, repeat offenders get a ticket.  

Additional to helping people in the community keep their jobs and money in their wallet, LPD is watching out for our school systems and the students in it. 

The Handle with Care program sends emails to teachers asking them to be understanding of certain students facing difficult situations outside of school and in their homes. 

No details on the incident are given, but teachers are made aware that something traumatic likely happened in a child’s life and they might be a little “off” at school. 

Additionally, LPD coordinates with 35 community organizations to provide assistance outside of what the police department can do.

These are just a handful of the efforts that LPD has committed to in an effort to be community-focused. 

All three are vastly different programs, but all have a purpose.

“Fact is, the greatest frustration that we have as a police department is that we deal with a host of social issues, but we’re not the DFACS,” Dekmar said in the meeting. 

“We’re not public health. We don’t create jobs, but we can try very hard to partner with those folks that do that stuff.”

He’s right, but the LPD continues to find ways to work around barriers to help find common sense solutions to problems in LaGrange. We’re thankful for that approach and appreciate the effort to continue to come up with new efforts.