HINESVILLE, GA (WTOC) - If you live in Hinesville, an era ends next week.
The hometown chief who has lead the police department for decades will retire.
Chief George Stagmeier will retire next week after almost 20 years as chief and 40 years in law enforcement in his hometown. He started as a Liberty County deputy in 1977 and joined the city department seven years later, then worked his way up to chief in 1999.
"This is where I grew up. Certainly, it's been a pleasure for me to work for my community," Chief Stagmeier said.
He says there was a time he knew almost everyone in town, but that changed as the city grew by leaps and bounds.
"It's probably doubled in population, and with that comes some challenges," he said.
The chief says they see more crime and serious crime more often. It's part of the reason the department has doubled and a modern building to house it. He's seen the department earn its certification. The chief says he'll miss the people, but not the work.
"I'm ready to move on and do some other things like spending time with my wife and my family," Chief Stagmeier said.
The chief's last day will be Feb. 28.