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State of Georgia parole board interested in pilot program with LaGrange Police Department

Last month, the LaGrange City Council passed a resolution asking state officials to study recent methods and trends in the early release of offenders. Work on that front has continued, as the LaGrange Police Department is launching a pilot program with the Georgia State Pardons and Parole Board, according to discussion at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

The program will create a relationship where the parole board will contact the LaGrange Police Department in cases where it’s the responsible agency for arrests and investigations to find out if there is any additional information LPD can provide in a parole case. 

“This [program] will influence if someone is released from prison early,” LaGrange Police Chief Lou Dekmar said. “We can give [the board] information that says we haven’t had any previous issues with [the parolee] …” 

The program has the potential to spread statewide, Dekmar said. 

The resolution was in response to an increase in violent crimes committed in 2020 by individuals who were on parole, felony probation, or out on bond pending felony charges when crimes occurred.

The LaGrange City Council passed the resolution during its council meeting March 13 asking for state officials to study recent methods and trends in the early release of offenders. 

In 2020, LaGrange had 10 homicides, the most since Dekmar became police chief. Of those 10 homicides, seven were classified as murders.

The resolution notes that six of the seven suspects identified in murders in LaGrange in 2020 had been arrested an average of 19 times each and combined had been convicted of 25 felonies.

The resolution states that 57% of violent crimes (murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault), 57% were on parole, probation or out on bond. A total of 59% of property crime suspects in 2020 were out on parole, probation or out on bond.