Editor’s note: Below is the full statement issued by Kathy Buettner, VP- University Relations.
Enhancing public safety/health communications to be a top priority
DeKalb, IL- The Northern Illinois University review panel investigating allegations made by a student newspaper editor against Police Chief Donald Grady has completed its work and found no evidence of misconduct or inappropriate actions. Chief Grady has been reinstated effective today.
“Northern Illinois University engaged in a very deliberate and thorough investigative process in reaction to potentially criminal allegations made against a university official,” said President John Peters. “NIU takes all allegations of professional misconduct seriously. The findings of the impartial and independent review panel, chaired by the Honorable John L. Nickels, a former Illinois Supreme Court justice, exonerate NIU Police Chief Donald Grady of misconduct or inappropriate actions.”
The review panel, selected by President John Peters and NIU’s senior administration, also included the head of the national campus law enforcement administration association and a former community college president with extensive student services experience. The panel had access to all records and sources of information necessary to evaluate the charges.
NIU officials released the review panel’s report to correct any misinformation in the community. The review panel’s report of testimony given under oath reveals:
- As acknowledged by both Justin Weaver and Chief Donald Grady, there was no threat and no bribe.
- Chief Donald Grady was unarmed during the meeting and the door to his office remained open during the meeting between Justin Weaver and Chief Donald Grady.
- There was no evidence of misconduct or inappropriate actions by Chief Donald Grady.
A separate criminal investigation was conducted by the Illinois State Police (ISP) Internal Investigations Unit upon referral by the independent Office of the Executive Inspector General for the Agencies of the Illinois Governor. In a December 2, 2009 letter from Jack Garcia, Deputy Director of the Illinois State Police, to NIU President John Peters, the ISP investigation concluded “the criminal allegations attributed to Chief Grady were unfounded.”
“The safety and security of our students remains a top priority, and we work every day to ensure this on our campus,” said Peters. “The NIU Department of Public Safety, under Chief Grady’s leadership and campus policing concept, continues to play a vital role in keeping our campus safe and secure.” Peters further stated “the administrative review process has underscored the effectiveness of NIU’s public safety efforts, but has also provided ways by which the university might improve through new standards and policies.”
For example, NIU is aggressively moving forward to strengthen relationships throughout the community and with the media concerning health, public safety and emergency management issues. The University will begin an immediate search for a public information professional to support the Departments of Public Safety, Health Services and Emergency Management. NIU officials believe having a dedicated public information professional for these critical areas will enhance responsiveness and communications. NIU continues to reaffirm the high performance standards and codes of conduct and accountability expected of university employees.
In addition, President Peters announced he will soon be contacting local government leaders to set up a meeting to discuss overall university and community relationships. A potential outcome of this meeting could be a spring summit of emergency management leaders throughout the county, along with NIU public safety and emergency management personnel, to strengthen and enhance professional relationships between both elected and appointed officials.
“I am grateful to the members of the independent panel and NIU administrators who worked diligently to investigate and take appropriate action to address the charges against Chief Grady,” added Marc Strauss, Chair of the NIU Board of Trustees. I am confident the results of the investigations, as well as the policy and administrative decisions made, will result in enhanced communication and coordination between NIU and the community including regional emergency response personnel.”
NIU also announced the final police investigation report of the February 14, 2008 tragedy will be completed and released in February of 2010.
Copies of NIU Independent Review Panel’s report and the ISP’s report to President Peters are attached for review.