A panel of community members will lead DeKalb’s search for its next police chief.
The following community members were announced as members of the police chief search committee at Monday night’s DeKalb City Council meeting:
- Earnell Brown, Founder and Executive Director of Sir Donald Foundation Inc.
- John Walker, youth mentor and long-time resident, DeKalb Human Relations Commission member
- Glenn Roby, Phi Sigma Kappa NIU Chapter Advisor
- Monique Bernoundy, NIU Assistant Vice President of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
- Lisa King, Interim Co-director of the NIU CHANCE program, DeKalb Township Trustee, DeKalb Human Relations Commission member
- Will Heinisch, DeKalb Area Rental Association President
- Mike Pittsley, owner, Pittsley Realty
- Don Thomas, retired Sycamore Police Chief
“You’ll see a theme here,” said City Manager Bill Nicklas at Monday night’s DeKalb City Council meeting. “Housing and equity, big topics for our community right now.”
The committee will select the candidates who are interviewed for the position and then conduct the lead interviews. The committee members have already added to the job description details about the community and the police department.
“I was listening to the people who ultimately committed to our committee and they agree that we needed to go out with a description of the community, so the candidate chooses us as well as we choose them,” said Nicklas.
The candidates selected by the search committee will be interviewed by multiple panels, including a team of city employees and another made up of law enforcement officers from neighboring departments. The finalists will also take part in an introductory and question-and-answer session with the employees of the police department.
The city paused its search for the next permanent chief in the spring because of COVID-19 and then decided to restart the process following the social justice movement this summer.
“We thought we would suspend it indefinitely so that we could listen to what the community wants,” said Nicklas.
Since then, police policies have been changed to heighten accountability and the department has been reorganized to include a Community Support Services Division.
The community search committee will make a recommendation on the new police chief to the city manager and the city manager will then make a recommendation to the City Council. The city hopes to name the new police chief in late February.