LAGRANGE, Ga. — A local police department is now undergoing an accreditation process. It’s happening in LaGrange, where some residents say, crime is running rampant.
Assessors tell News 3, the police department is being graded on more than 400 standards. One of the main efforts addressed was the police chief’s public apology about a LaGrange lynching, that happened in the 40s.
The purpose of the meeting was to get a better grasp of how the police are viewed in what some call an area riddled with crime.
Wednesday night, the commission on accreditation on law enforcement agencies picked up their assessment process on the LaGrange Police Department.
“Homelessness, mental health issues, youth intervention, and re-entry,” says Wanda Walker.
A meeting was held in an effort to hear from the community about police. Wanda Walker with Troup Transformation spoke about other issues the police department works to tackle.
“It’s made a really big difference we started a homeless coalition and had a warming center and we served up to 22 people a night this winter when the temperatures dropped below 40,” says Wanda Walker.
Assessors are working to learn whether the department is in compliance with 484 standards. Those standards include: agency practices, any possible matters of excessive force, for example.
Willie May Callaway is married to James Callway, the second cousin of Austin Callaway, the black man who was lynched in LaGrange in the 40s. She spoke to News 3 about Chief Lou Dekmar’s public apology last year.
“He is about doing the right thing. It gave you a higher respect for him especially in the position that he’s in,” says Willie Mae Callaway.
“The apology heard around the world,” says Bobbi Hart.
Bobbi Hart is a member of multiple local organizations that work to fix social issues like race relations in Troup County. She says Dekmar has gone out of his way to assist with the efforts.
Hart says the public apology for the lynching spoke volumes to his character and integrity.
“Despite the fact that it happened some time ago the nature of that incident like many things that occur in the past still influence and form opinions,” says Chief Lou Dekmar.
The first time the police department underwent this process was in the 90s. Chief Dekmar says in his more than 20 year career, the police department has never failed this kind of assessment.