After more than three decades of public service, Hinesville Police Chief George Stagmeier has submitted his retirement papers to city officials.
The announcement was made public at Thursday’s Hinesville City Council meeting.
Stagmeier graduated from Georgia Southern College in 1977 with a degree in criminal justice. He interned with the Jacksonville Police Department and later that same year he took a job with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office. He started as a deputy and worked his way up to the investigation’s unit. He remained with the LCSO until 1984.
That’s when Stagmeier joined HPD already ranked a lieutenant and hired as the control commander.
In March of 1999 Stagmeier was named chief of police replacing former Chief Harlon DeLoach who died from a heart attack.
Stagmeier said his retirement begins March 1.
“It was a personal choice,” Stagmeier said. “I’ve been in law enforcement almost 40 years and I feel like I’m getting to the point where age is a factor and I want to get out while I have my health and be around my family
The chief said he’s been through and seen many things during his career but he is proud of creating and introducing HPD’s first standard operating procedures.
He said the state had a template manual he and a group of officers used to create the book.
“About 12 or 13 years ago we actually got our state certification which is an accreditation,” he said. “It sets standards our department must go by.”
He said the certification process requires a higher standard of law enforcement.
“They audit you every three years. You have to show proof that you are staying on those standards and complying with those standards. It is pretty strict but it sends a message to the community that our standards are pretty high and we expect our officers to go by these rules.”
At the city council meeting Thursday, Hinesville Mayor Allen Brown, City Manager Kenneth Howard and the council presented the chief with a plaque and thanked him for his years of service. District 5 councilman Jason Floyd said the chief, who also lives in his district, was always responsive to his calls and always professional and polite and also expressed a calm demeanor in the performance of his duties.
Stagmeier said he is ready to relax and wet a hook, work around the house and spend time with his two kids.
“One is in Atlanta and the other is over in Europe having more time to be with them is what I think I’ll enjoy most.”
The chief said that being in law enforcement has been a rewarding experience. He said he never knew what each day would bring but he looked forward to each new experience and helping people in the community.
“It is a great profession and it is very satisfying,” he said. “There are a lot of challenges but I do think it’s a very good career. If it seems to fit you then I would say to take that step and try it.”