LPD Chief Lou Dekmar gives 2021 annual report to city council at work session

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, February 23, 2022

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At Tuesday’s LaGrange City Council work session, LaGrange Police Chief Lou Dekmar provided the council and community members with a presentation based on the department’s 2021 annual report.

During his presentation, he spoke on a variety of issues including traffic, mental health reform on the state level, high-speed pursuits and dirt bikes.

Per the report, dirt bike activity has decreased from 521 calls in 2020 to 408 in 2021. There were 45 citations and 12 arrests related to dirt bikes in 2020, while there were 48 citations in 28 arrests in 2021. There were 16 total pursuits in 2021 with five of them resulting in a citizen being found out of compliance. The report also found the number of complaints rose with 57 in 2019, 63 in 2020 and 64 in 2021.

In an interview after the meeting, Dekmar said the department always looks forward to presenting the council with the LPD’s annual report.

“It provides us an opportunity to share with the council and with our citizens the various initiatives that the police departments are involved in that impact public safety,” Dekmar said.

Dekmar highlighted both internal and external programs of LPD during the interview.

The Uniformed Patrol Operations is four “squads” of officers who handle generalized patrol duties and respond to service calls.

Some of the officers are trained on specialties like canine, traffic enforcement, crime suppression and bicycle patrol operations. The division is 60 percent of LPD’s total number of sworn and civilian employees.

Dekmar said he is proud of the realignment of zones and increasing coverage for the city of LaGrange.

“The increasing staffing/supervision in the patrol to facilitate the vision of the city [and] to increase coverage that’s probably the most significant internal thing that we’ve done,” Dekmar said.

There was a rise in total arrests by the LPD. In 2021, there were 2,821 arrests made compared to 2,687 in 2021. The amount of arrests is a decrease from 2020 when there were 3,181 arrests made.

Dekmar said he is also proud of the community outreach efforts of the LPD to address issues like homelessness, mental illness and truancy.

“[One of] the most significant internal thing that we’ve done is continuing our community outreach efforts that impact: our homeless population, those affected by mental illness, various initiatives we have with the school system, to address truancy and then incorporating or embracing technology to deal with crime issues and public safety concerns,”  Dekmar said.

Dekmar highlighted one joint effort of the council and LPD in his interview and said he looks forward to seeing the expansion of the use of cameras in the city.

“We’ll be providing them with some recommendations for increasing that capability this next budget year, which will begin in the next month or so,” Dekmar said.

Dekmar said he would like to thank everyone in the department for their work throughout the year.

“The job everyone does in the department is outstanding. They handle 50,000 calls a year and they do it in a way that recognizes not only their crime-fighting role, but their caregiving role,” Dekmar said. “[They] hook the resources of the community up with people in need, that oftentimes address issues in a way that precludes them from becoming public safety or criminal issues.”

Dekmar said he would also like to thank the LaGrange community for their continued support. He said if they have any questions regarding the annual report to contact him or an LPD officer.

“We’re very proud and grateful for the relationship that we have in the community and the support we receive. That plays out almost every day in the cooperation that we get, from the support and recognition the community provides our officers,” Dekmar said.

“In the difficult summers, we’ve seen when rocks and bottles were being thrown at police. In our community, they were throwing calories at us. Every time we would turn around, they were bringing food, trying to buy lunch or express their support. We don’t take that support for granted and we’re grateful for it.”