LaGrange hires new police chief and a new fire chief
Published 10:00 am Friday, April 7, 2023
In a surprise announcement outside city hall on Thursday, Mayor Willie Edmondson revealed that Garrett Fiveash has been hired as police chief and Willie Bradfield has been hired as fire chief.
The new police chief
Former Georgia State Trooper Garrett Fiveash officially accepted the police chief position on Wednesday. The new chief will take over for Interim Police Chief Dale Strickland on April 17. Fiveash said he plans on relying heavily on Strickland to guide him as he takes over the department.
Fiveash brings 28 years of law enforcement experience with him to LaGrange. He said he worked around the state for 27 years with the Georgia State Patrol.
“I worked a little bit of all over the state. I started my career as a driver’s license examiner until I went to trooper school. I’ve worked at posts in Newnan, Perry, Cordele, Conyers and various details all over the state and held every rank from trooper to captain,” Fiveash said.
Fiveash later became the director of training for the Department of Public Safety where he oversaw the training of 1,100 employees. He retired in July but continued to teach law enforcement in Forsyth.
Fiveash plans to move from Macon to LaGrange with his wife and daughter as soon as possible.
“I certainly look forward to meeting and working with everyone and helping to provide a safe environment for the people who live and work here in the City of LaGrange,” Fiveash said.
“The LaGrange Police Department has long been considered a great example of professionalism and excellence. They’re talked about all over the state by other law enforcement entities. I’ve heard great things about the police department all throughout my career at the state patrol, so I certainly look forward to being counted among its ranks.”
Fiveash said he plans to continue the tradition of expected professionalism and excellence cultivated by former police chief Lou Dekmar.
“I have a great deal of respect for Chief Dekmar. He did a fantastic job here for a very long time,” Fiveash said.
The new fire chief
Willie Bradfield has accepted the promotion to the new LaGrange Fire Chief. He will officially begin the role on April 13.
The longtime fireman has served with the LaGrange Fire Department since 1999, working his way up from firefighter in 1999 to deputy chief in 2013.
Bradfield was one of three deputy chiefs who have cooperatively ran the fire department since the abrupt departure of former Fire Chief John Brant.
Over his career, Bradfield has earned Georgia Fire Chief Certification, Fire Department Administration Training and Fire Department Executive Training.
Bradfield said he previously worked with the Heard County Fire Department, moving up the ranks there.
“When I got here, I came in with experience already,” Bradfield said, noting that over the next 23 years in LaGrange he was able to take countless training and college classes to prepare him for the job, including attending chief’s school.
Bradfield said when Dekmar was public safety chief he was able to work as chief of administration, which allowed him to learn much of the administration side of things before going back to his deputy role as a shift commander.
“I want to thank the city council. I also want to thank the city manager for believing in me to lead this fire department. LaGrange has an awesome fire department, and we have some awesome men and women that work for the fire department,” Bradfield said. “We just want to come out and just do what we have to do to make this department great and serve the citizens of LaGrange.”