David E. Dial — Naperville Police Chief TO Retire

May 2012 View more

NMAG0512_NeighborhoodNaperville’s longtime police chief is handing in his badge. David E. Dial, who’s been chief for 22 years—a period in which the city has experienced phenomenal growth—is retiring this month.

“I absolutely will (miss being the police chief),” says Dial, who revealed to Naperville Magazine that in mid-August, he will assume the role of director of criminal justice at Aurora University.

“Professionally, I have been very proud to be the police chief of Naperville, to lead such a fine group of men and women and have such a supportive community behind us,” says Dial.

“It (Naperville) has become my home. When I moved here, there was a captain on the Police Department at the time named Jon Ripsky. Jon told me, ‘You will never leave here.’ And he was exactly right,” said Dial. “I had no idea when I came here how special this community was, and would become, to me and my family.”

Dial took over as police chief in May 1990. Since his arrival, the Police Department has moved toward a community oriented policing philosophy. Over the years, and under Dial’s leadership and guidance, the department has implemented the following programs:

• An award-winning traffic unit that consistently is ranked as one of the best in the country.

• The development of a computer forensics lab.

• During the 1990s, the Naperville Police Department became the first agency in this region to create a cyber crimes investigations unit and the first in the state to arrest a pedophile.

Dial and the Police Department have also responded to advances in computer technology as well as to the threat of terrorism following the Sept. 11, 2011 attacks by creating an intelligence unit and becoming a more intelligence-oriented and data-driven department.

Continuing changes in technology, which can lead to increased cyber crimes, along with increasing government discontent and increases in substance abuse, particularly heroin in Naperville and surrounding communities, are among some of the challenges Dial says the Naperville Police Department will face in the future.

“We have some very diverse, and I think, uncertain threats to the future,” says Dial. “I’m certain that 10 years from now they (criminals) will find new technologies and new ways to abuse those technologies that law enforcement will be challenged with.”

Dial points out that Naperville is experiencing its lowest crime rate per capita in more than two decades for major crimes including murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft, auto theft and arson. Further, he says, the city is running slightly below the national average for less serious crimes that include such things as fraud, substance abuse, traffic-related crimes, misdemeanor assaults and vandalism.

The Naperville Police Department is a leaner force due to budget cuts during the past four years. The department has had to cut 21 police officer and 17 civilian positions since 2008. However, Dial believes overall the department is in “great shape” as he prepares to retire from the force.

“The men and women of this department are, in my opinion, some of the very best in the country,” says Dial. “I think we’re a little leaner than many agencies our size, but we also have quality, dedicated people who are going to continue to deliver a high level of service.”

“We have detectives who are absolutely second to none. If any member of my family were the victim of a crime, I would want a Naperville police officer investigating that crime. That’s how comfortable I feel with them.”

Dial officially retires from the Naperville Police Department on May 18.

Photo by Robyn Sheldon