NIU names new director of Public Safety; Grady still chief

Bill Nicklas

Bill Nicklas

By Kelly Bauer

Amid calls for the department to be investigated by the State Police, the NIU Police Department will now report directly to NIU’s Bill Nicklas.

Nicklas, associate vice president of Institutional Planning and Sustainability, has been named the temporary acting director of public safety, according to NIU Today. That doesn’t mean Police Chief Donald Grady has been replaced or ousted, however.

“At this time, the status of Chief Grady will be the same,” said Brad Hoey, director of communications and marketing. “It’s part of an ongoing restructuring that the university has initiated.”

Hoey said that several things were taken into consideration when NIU decided on the restructuring. Among them, he said, were the findings of Judge Robbin Stuckert in regard to the Andrew Rifkin case.

Rifkin, a former NIU police officer, was charged in November 2011 with with Criminal Sexual Assault (Class 1 Felony). Rifkin’s attorney has argued that NIU police failed to provide the DeKalb County State’s Attorney’s Office with two key witness statements in Rifkin’s case. The missing witness statements, according to a motion filed by the defense, are from two people who said the actions between Rifkin and his alleged victim were consensual and no assault had taken place.

In response, Judge Robbin Stuckert said, “It is clear to me that there was a purposeful hiding of information by this department.”

On Monday, Clay Campbell, DeKalb County state’s attorney, called for the NIU Police Department and Grady to be investigated. Later that day, NIU President John Peters issued a statement saying he had asked the State Police to “assist in the review and completion of ongoing university police investigations.”

NIU Police Lt. Kartik Ramakrishnan has said he mistakenly put the testimonies in Rifkin’s internal file

In a letter put forth from the sergeants of the NIU Police Department, the sergeants said, “This was an unfortunate but unintentional oversight. This oversight is entirely inconsistent with the high standards set by this agency. Lt. Ramakrishnan’s inaction was unintentional. He openly admitted that he made a mistake and accepts responsibility for failing to provide the statements in a timely manner.”

NIU issued a statement in response to the letter, saying, “If anyone should respect the law and the judiciary, it should be law enforcement. Comment related to matters before the Court are not only inappropriate generally but especially when raised by law enforcement officials without authorization and without justification.”

According to NIU Today, Nicklas will step aside from his role as acting director of Building Services, and assistant vice president of Capital Budget and Planning. Jeffrey Daurer will assume primary management of the Building Services unit, along with his other duties.