Louis Dekmar — chief of police in LaGrange and alumnus of Georgia College — was the first municipal officer in the United States to apologize for police complicity in violence during the Jim Crow era. He will speak from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17, at Georgia College’s “Usery Student Leadership Forum” in Magnolia Ballroom.
Dekmar was featured in the New York Times in 2017 for his apology, regarding the LaGrange Police Department handling of a black man’s death in 1940. Austin Callaway was dragged out of a jail cell, shot and left for dead by a group of white men.
“We’re so pleased to welcome Lou Dekmar back to Georgia College. Both as a leader and as a citizen, Chief Dekmar has provided an example to which we all can aspire. He has used his position as a community leader to bring people together and address some of the enduring questions of our age,” said Dr. Harold Mock, director of Georgia College’s Leadership Programs.
A reception will precede the talk at 5 p.m. in Magnolia Ballroom, where faculty, students and community residents can interact with the police chief. Dekmar will speak from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., followed by discussion, questions and answers. He’ll address challenges of our past and how to build a future worthy of the next generation. Dekmar will also discuss using positions of responsibility to bring people and communities together.
The chief will interact with students Wednesday morning from Georgia College’s Criminal Justice Leadership Certificate Program.
A past president of the International Association of Police Chiefs, Dekmar has received honors from the NAACPand many other civic groups. He is at the forefront of an international trust-building initiative among police and the communities they serve.
Dekmar earned a master’s of public administration from Georgia College and an undergraduate degree in science from the University of Wyoming. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar. Dekmar’s also a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement.
In 2004, Dekmar was selected as delegation leader for the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE) that traveled to Israel for a two-week training with the Israel National Police. He’s an international presenter for police leaders and elected officials on a range of topics including leadership, ethics, law enforcement management and liability issues. He has provided training programs to police chiefs, elected officials and other law enforcement personnel across the United States and worldwide.
The Usery Leadership Forum is part of Georgia College’s “Inspire! Student Leadership Series,” supported by a grant from the Kim Usery Foundation. This series invites seasoned leaders to Georgia College to share leadership lessons with students and the community. The forum is designed to be engaging and allow for exchange between presenters and guests.
It is free and open to the public.