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NIU appoints acting police chief while Grady is on administrative leave

Updated: November 11, 2012 7:54PM



Northern Illinois University on Sunday named a new acting chief for its police force, after placing Police Chief Donald Grady on administrative leave Saturday pending discipline in the wake of a botched sexual assault investigation.

Named to the post was NIU deputy chief and executive director of its Office of Emergency Management and Planning, Darren Mitchell, who has been on the NIU force since 2000, and employed with the university since 1994.

“I have every confidence that Darren will perform well in this role,” NIU Acting Director of Public Safety Bill Nicklas said Sunday. “Right now, the goal is to maintain continuity . . . [and] ensure the department continues to serve and protect the campus community.”

In the continuing fallout from a case involving an NIU officer accused of sexually assaulting a university student, university officials had announced Saturday that Grady, 59, was being placed on leave while disciplinary charges were finalized against him. Officials also notified Lt. Kartik Ramakrishnan, one of Grady’s chief deputies accused of withholding details of the probe, that administrative proceedings were underway to fire him.

The moves came after a DeKalb County judge ruled Friday that the trial of former NIU police officer Andrew Rifkin — charged last November after an NIU student alleged he had sexually assaulted her — would continue despite the fact that NIU police department investigators withheld evidence favorable to him.

The tenure of Grady, NIU police chief since 2001, has been marked with drama and controversy. Praised for his actions on Feb. 14, 2008, when a gunman opened fire during class on the school’s DeKalb campus, killing five students and himself, he was suspended for 30 days in 2009 after the student newspaper accused him of trying to bribe an editor to write a positive story about an NIU police officer. Grady was reinstated after a university probe found no evidence of misconduct.

Contributing: Dan Rozek, Brian Slodysko



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