LPD awarded for department excellence

Published 7:00 am Thursday, September 30, 2021

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The LaGrange Police Department was recognized with an Advanced Career Accreditation with Excellence award by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies at Tuesday night’s LaGrange City Council meeting.

The award provides agencies an opportunity to be recognized for the effective use of accreditation as a model for the delivery of enhanced public safety services and management professionalism.

Anthony Purcell, who serves as the chairperson/president for the CALEA, said the LPD was chosen for the honor because it has had no standard issues within its department in several years and has continued to maintain its efforts to deescalate police vs. resident situations without incident.

“[The LPD] was in compliance with 345 mandatory standards and complied with 55 other mandatory standards,” he said.

“That represents 96 percent compliance rate. I have known Chief Dekmar for 20 years, and I can truly say he’s an assertive leader.”

Purcell noted that police departments around the country are “under a microscope” and policies such as use of force incidents, mental and physical health issues, civil unrest and recruitment diversity are all the more analyzed.

“Every chief and executive officer must prove to its constituents is delivering high-quality services in a dignified manner, and maintain a quality of life that is fair, consistent and respectful,” Purcell said, adding that he felt Dekmar addressed these matters with his department professionally.

Dekmar credited his officers for the department’s highly kept standards.

“What we accomplish every day is captured in some recent stats I was reviewing,” Dekmar said. The statistics he referred to span over the last 26 years.

“We responded to about 1.4 million for calls for service, of those 1.4 million calls, we made about 115,000 arrests. So over 90 percent of those calls we respond to are handled without an arrest. Of those 115,000 arrests, we use some degree of force, whether it’s grabbing someone by the arm and escorting them when they don’t want to get into the car…or, in 14 cases to be exact, we had to use deadly force.”

In other business at the meeting:

4The newest members of the LaGrange Youth Council were sworn in.

4The council approved a resolution to submit a Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program grant application to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The funding of this grant, if approved, will be utilized to construct a new multi-use, non-motorized recreational trail and park facility on greenspace property owned by the Development Authority of LaGrange. The facility will be located on Ridley Lake and will include playground equipment suitable for those with disabilities and ramps for fishing, said City Manager Meg Kelsey. The Thread as well will be incorporated into the space.