OUR VIEW: Dekmar will be impossible to replace

Published 10:30 am Saturday, January 21, 2023

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Whoever takes over for soon-to-be-retired LaGrange Police Chief Lou Dekmar will have some big shoes to fill. And that even feels like an understatement. 

Dekmar’s 50 years of law enforcement experience will be impossible to replace. His leadership and what he means to the LaGrange community can never be replaced, but now city leaders have the difficult task of finding his successor.

The task is made even more difficult as Dekmar is one of three longtime LaGrange leaders to exit within only a few months. Longtime Mayor Jim Thornton and Fire Chief John Brant announced surprising resignations during the last quarter of 2022.

Cities simply do not find police chiefs with Dekmar’s experience, leadership and international accolades available for hire.

In addition to serving as LaGrange Police Chief since 1995, Dekmar has served as a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, a board member for the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange, past president and chair of the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) and past president of the Georgia

Association of Chiefs of Police. 

Dekmar has served as a Council Member for the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council and as a member of the Georgia Board of Public Safety. 

He has also served as a Federal Monitor for the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice.

Not only is Dekmar an accomplished lawman, but he is also an adjunct professor for several colleges and institutions.

During his half-century in law enforcement, Dekmar received the CALEA Egon Bittner Award, Georgia Governor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement and Contribution to the Law Enforcement Profession, LaGrange College Servant-Leadership Award, Georgia Outstanding Police Chief of the Year, and the Police Valor Medal for Bravery. 

Dekmar will be missed but he won’t be replaced.