Lou Dekmar, the longtime police chief of LaGrange and a nationally recognized expert in accreditation, will leave the board this week. He said he was removed after questioning the appointment of former state Rep. Tim Bearden, R-Villa Rica, to run the state Public Safety Training Center, though a Deal aide said the removal was not retaliatory. The chief said Bearden is not nearly as qualified as the man he is replacing.
In October, Deal appointed Bearden, who supported him in his 2010 election, to run the center in Forsyth, near Macon. Each year, thousands of law enforcement and other public safety workers are trained at the center, which has an annual budget of $13 million.
Dekmar questioned Beardenís qualifications. A former police sergeant in Douglasville, Bearden is a high-school graduate with some college and limited management and training experience, Dekmar said. No college degree is required for the directorís job.
Bearden replaced Dale Mann, who is nationally known and has a masterís degree in criminal law. Mann had been at the center for 23 years, the last eight as director.