Naperville’s New Top Cop

August 2012 View more

NMAG0812_NeighborhoodPolice Chief Robert Marshall unveils his goals for the department

If happiness equals success, then at least by his eldest daughter’s definition, Naperville’s new police chief is a very successful man. Marshall was recently sworn in to what he calls his dream job, replacing long-time Naperville Police Chief David Dial. Marshall acknowledges he has some pretty big shoes to fill, but says he welcomes the challenge.

“I have a different style, a different set of leadership skills,” Marshall says. He brings 27 years of law enforcement experience to the job as Naperville’s new top cop. And, he points to communication as one of his strengths. For example, he says he has started emailing police department employees a memo reviewing what he and his department heads discuss at their weekly management meeting. The idea, Marshall says, is to help keep staffers in the loop on department matters. Marshall credits Dial for bringing professionals into the department and making it the outstanding police department it is today. Marshall says he plans to build on that reputation. One pressing issue will be addressing the community’s heightened demand for drug enforcement and education following the recent drug-related deaths of high school students.

Marshall graduated from Western Illinois University in Macomb with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. He earned a Master’s of Science in Public Administration Management from DePaul University in 1991.

Department Goals

Marshall is hitting the ground running with six goals for the Naperville Police Department. First, he plans to deal with the department’s organizational structure by filling new positions that may become open, addressing staff retirements, and various other personnel issues. Currently, the city is operating under a hiring freeze. Second, Marshall is preparing the department for accreditation, which is scheduled for August. Third, Marshall is hoping for the successful negotiations of two contracts; one with the Fraternal Order of Police that expired in April, and the other with MAP police sergeants. Fourth, he wants to make sure the police department has the best technology and practices in place to stay one step ahead of the criminals. In some cases, Marshall says, advances in technology and communication have made it harder for law enforcement to do its job because the criminals have access to the same tools. Marshall’s fifth goal is to build on the good relationship the police department has with the Naperville Park District, Naperville schools, and service agencies throughout the city. Keeping a sharp eye on the police department’s budget, he says, is his final goal.

Leadership Background

Marshall became Chief of Police after serving as Naperville’s Assistant City Manager for the past seven years. He says that makes him highly qualified to deal with the financial challenges his department will face. He says it also gives him valuable insight into public policy. At times, he sounds a little like a man interested in pursuing political office. But, when asked if that might be in his future, he quickly answers with a firm, “No.” He also answers with a smile, possibly reinforcing what his daughter Emily told him months ago when they had dinner together. He says when he was first considering applying for the job, he asked his daughter for advice. “She told me to go for it because she thought I was the happiest I had ever been when I was working for the police department,” said Marshall.

Photo courtesy Naperville Police Department