Strickland to be named interim police chief

Published 5:50 pm Monday, January 30, 2023

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LaGrange will soon be looking for a new police chief after the retirement of longtime police chief Lou Dekmar. Dekmar is set to retire on Friday.

City Manager Meg Kelsey said that Capt. Dale Strickland will be named interim chief.

Kelsey said they haven’t posted the job yet because they are reviewing the job description.

“We haven’t had to hire a police chief for nearly 30 years, so we thought we would review the job description,” Kelsey said.

“I’m trying to —  by reviewing that job description — ascertain the qualities that we’re looking for with experience,” Kelsey said. “We’re definitely looking for somebody that is seasoned and has experience doing this type of work.”

Kelsey said that she does not foresee any problems with both public safety heads being gone at the same time. Former LaGrange Fire Chief John Brant abruptly resigned just before Christmas.

“I just don’t really think that that’s been a problem or will be a problem moving forward,” she said.

“On the fire side, we have three deputy chiefs. They’ve worked with and for Chief Dekmar for a long time, so they have a very good working relationship with the staff at the police department because of their experience,” Kelsey said.

“I think Dale when he comes in and Lou steps down on Friday, I think that that relationship has been forged and will be important,” she said.

Kelsey said she is in the process of interviewing for the fire chief’s position.

“I’m hoping within the next week or two, that we’ll be able to make that appointment,” Kelsey said.