LaGrange Chief Leading Jorelys Probe

Louis M. Dekmar started on Wednesday, Canton City Manager Scott Wood said in a release today.

A little more than a week after a report detailed the for slain 7-year-old Jorelys Rivera, Canton has announced the man who will examine the tactics.

LaGrange Public Safety Chief Louis M. Dekmar has been tapped to "conduct a professional review and assessment of actions taken" by the agency, Canton City Manager Scott Wood said in a statement released late this afternoon.

The Canton Police Department, which spearheaded the search, has come under fire for its failure to immediately call in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's Child Abduction Response Team after Jorelys, a first-grader, disappeared.

Jorelys was , but the CART team was not called until Dec. 4 and didn't join the search until 7 a.m. Dec. 5. Within hours, authorities  in a Dumpster from the apartment.

An autopsy found that she likely died 60 to 90 minutes after she disappeared. Jorelys had been , GBI director Vernon Keenan said at a Dec. 6 press conference.

With lingering questions over how the Canton Police Department handled the search for Jorelys, .

"To learn from any shortcomings and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our department—and for no other reason," he said at the time.

Dekmar, who has spent 20 of his 34 years in law enforcement as a chief of police or public safety, has "extensive experience in the conduct of such reviews," Wood said today.

In addition to providing more than 300 hours of training programs to police leaders, elected officials and other law enforcement officials across the country, Dekmar serves as a commissioner and president of the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

For three years in the mid- to late-2000s, he was a monitor for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. In that role, he developed safeguards to deal with bias-based profiling and other officer misconduct issues in Villa Rica.

"We have full confidence that Mr. Dekmar will conduct a thorough, objective and professional review and assessment of the actions of our department and report his findings accordingly," Wood said.

He started in Canton on Wednesday at a pay rate of $150 an hour.

A completed report will be submitted to the city manager within the next several weeks, Wood said.

"If there's issues or problems out there that we did, we'll make adjustments," . "We'll fix those problems. We're open-minded. We're not close-minded in anything that we do here."

Open the attached PDFs to learn more about Dekmar's background.

For all of Canton-Sixes Patch's coverage of the Jorelys Rivera case, go to http://canton-ga.patch.com/topics/jorelys-rivera.

Joe Bozeman December 31, 2011 at 02:44 PM
What is the purpose of this investigation? Why continue with this political and media circus? Now that the main event is over, the sideshows continue to play on. I think convicting the accused should be the main concern and stop the polluting of anything left of an unbias jury pool.
Rodney Thrash December 31, 2011 at 04:57 PM
Joe: Mayor Gene Hobgood summed up the intent of the investigation the night he called for an outside probe. "To learn from any shortcomings and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our department—and for no other reason." I'm not sure if you saw the report from the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office, but it clearly lays out some of the confusion that surrounded the initial hours of the search. Besides the disciplined deputy, there were others (a Canton fireman) who didn't report the sight of blood and blankets/pillows in what authorities later determined to be the crime scene. One Search and Rescue team member who saw these things said he didn't tell anyone because "he thought the girl was hiding or hanging out with friends" and "it never occurred to him that anyone had done harm to" Jorelys. The firefighter said there was "no span of control" at the command post and he could not tell "who was doing what." You can read the PDF of the report in its entirety here: http://canton-ga.patch.com/articles/disciplined-deputy-i-thought-blood-was-from-nose-bleed
Joe Bozeman December 31, 2011 at 08:01 PM
Thanks Rodney, I understand. I believe this will continue to happen when untrained volunteers get involved in these cases.


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