NIU initiates disciplinary process for university police officers, selects acting police chief
Online Staff Report
DEKALB, Ill. — Acting Director of Public Safety Bill Nicklas announced Nov. 10 that Northern Illinois University (NIU) Police Chief Donald Grady was placed on administrative leave pending finalization of charges and disciplinary actions under the terms and conditions of his employment as well as university policies.
Additionally, Lt. Kartik Ramakrishnan was notified of the university’s intent to discharge him in accordance with procedures outlined in the State Universities Civil Service System’s (SUCSS) statutes and rules, which require notice and adjudication of the charges before termination is complete.
The university’s action was taken as a result of the findings of the court in the matter of The People of the State of Illinois vs. Andrew Rifkin, which termed the actions taken by the NIU Department of Police & Public Safety “egregious” and “a purposeful hiding of information.”
NIU President John Peters said: “The findings of the court called into question the integrity of the criminal investigatory process, and we cannot under any circumstances tolerate such clear breaches of contracts, authority and responsibility. Although it pains me greatly that the university had to take these actions today, we must always strive to do the right thing.”
Nicklas spent the day meeting with police departmental representatives. “I want to assure the NIU community that we have strong protocols in place to continue to ensure the safety and security of the campus,” Nicklas added.
Earlier in the week, President Peters formally requested the Illinois State Police to assist in the review of university law enforcement protocols and procedures.
Darren Mitchell will serve as acting police chief to ensure a smooth transition in providing law enforcement service to the campus community.
Mitchell has been employed at NIU since 1994 and has served as a sworn officer on the NIU police force since 2000, most recently as deputy chief of police and executive director of the Office of Emergency Management and Planning.
“I have every confidence that Darren will perform well in this role of acting police chief,” Nicklas said. “Right now, the goal is to maintain continuity of operations within the police department to ensure the department continues to serve and protect the campus community.”
Mitchell is a certified emergency medical technician (EMT) and hazardous materials technician (HAZMAT) and has served as a part of the Critical Incidence Response Team, Interpersonal Violence Response Team and Honor Guard.
Mitchell and his spouse, Melody Mitchell, are both NIU graduates and employed at the university. Melody serves as director of alumni events and public relations for NIU’s College of Law. They are active in the university and local communities, including their faith community.
Posted Nov. 12, 2012