OUR VIEW: More information needed on LPD investigation

Published 9:30 am Friday, May 5, 2023

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On Wednesday night, news broke that four officers with the LaGrange Police Department are under investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Chief Garrett Fiveash said as the investigation continues any media inquiries should go through the GBI’s Metro Regional Drug Enforcement Office. Upon his hiring, Fiveash told us he’d be transparent and up front about things going on within the LPD, and to his credit, he kept his word and answered questions about this. 

While we wish more information was available through the LPD, we understand that GBI is who is overseeing the investigation and will be the point of contact for the media as it continues.  

For the record, we have reached out to GBI, which basically confirmed via a statement what we already knew. 

We believe the four officers suspended should be named and more information should and can be released without compromising the investigation.

From the Banning Mills retreat to other investigations, there’s been much discussion in LaGrange about issues in the police department. Generic investigations like this only fuel more speculation. 

Identifying a reason for the investigation would put some rumors to rest. 

Naming the officers clears up any questioning about who is and who isn’t suspended. Providing both the names of the suspended officers and the reason for the investigation provides background information and is fair to the officers being investigated. In our opinion, it’d be unfair for GBI to release the names without also giving more context to the investigation.

There are hundreds of reasons officers can be suspended. 

Leaving the reasoning generic only feeds into speculation.

The last thing we need right now in LaGrange is more speculation, more rumors. We’ve got plenty of people doing their part to keep that cycle going as it is.

As a community, what we need more than anything is re-established trust between the LPD and citizens.  For a long time, the LPD has been considered a top-notch law enforcement agency that many other police departments have strived to become. For the most part, we believe the foundation left behind by Chief Lou Dekmar and by other LPD leadership remains, regardless of some of the investigations that have gone public in recent months.

However, the list of reasons the public might question the LPD continues to grow in 2023. 

And a new investigation without much publicly available information is the latest item.