LaGrange Police Chief Lou Dekmar retiring

Published 6:29 pm Tuesday, January 17, 2023

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After 50 years in law enforcement, LaGrange Police Chief Lou Dekmar has announced his retirement.

“I started my law enforcement career in the Air Force as a police officer in 1973, and it is now 2023 — that’s 50 years,” Dekmar said. “After 50 years, I prepared to reflect on my career and look to do some of those personal things that as a police chief is not always possible.”

Initially taking the title of police chief in 1995, Dekmar said the proudest moment of his career is being able to work every day with brave women and men who dedicate themselves to serving citizens and embracing police practices.

“It’s been an honor for me, to serve with the folks that work here,” Dekmar said.

Former Mayor Jim Thornton said Dekmar has done an amazing job keeping the residents of LaGrange safe for almost three decades.

“His leadership in policing has earned international recognition, but what I’m most grateful for is his phenomenal leadership in LaGrange. It will be impossible to replace a leader like him, but I certainly congratulate him on a well-deserved retirement,” Thornton said.

Mayor Pro-Tem Mark Mitchell said Dekmar has done a great job in serving the citizens of Troup County.

“We wish him well in his endeavors as we lean on Mrs. Kelsey to help find the next police chief,” Mitchell said.

Leadership in LaGrange has been in flux. The city is now currently searching for its next mayor, fire chief and now police chief.

Dekmar said the change in leadership was one of the many variables in his decision to retire but not the defining one.

“This isn’t a rash decision. This is something that I’ve been kicking around for probably the last year and a half,” Dekmar said.

As Dekmar approaches his last day as the police chief on Feb. 3, he has made a plan to ensure the next police chief is more than capable to take his place.

“When I spoke with the city manager last summer, we talked about succession planning and told her I was making arrangements for the captains to attend new chief school so that at the time that I retired, she would have a qualified option with one of our captains for an interim police chief until the new chief was selected,” Dekmar said. “I have every confidence that anyone selected in the rank of captain would be qualified to act as interim or police chief.”

When he retires, Dekmar said he looks forward to spending time with his family, teaching more, and doing some management consulting work from time to time.