David Dial is going to have to do some serious redecorating in his newfound spare time. The retiring Naperville police chief has to make room for a new plaque collection he amassed Wednesday evening, a one-of-a-kind banner and a very special pair of shorts.
Several hundred people, including area police officials, city officials, residents and friends gathered at city hall Wednesday to celebrate Dial's retirement from a 45-year law enforcement career, the last 22 of which he has spent in Naperville.
Along the way they shared stories, some funny, some serious. They retired his badge #1 and gave him a miniature banner to take home that replicates the one to be hung at the Police Department. And in a lighter moment, City Manager Doug Krieger presented Dial with a pair of ragged khaki cargo shorts that he endlessly ridiculed Krieger for wearing during a 2005 golf outing.
"I can honestly say no city manager has ever given me his shorts before," Dial said.
Dial's career began in 1967 with a bachelor's degree in law enforcement and administration from San Jose State. During his senior year, he was appointed as a police officer with the Milpitas, Calif., Police Department. After graduation, he took a two-year military leave and served for a year as a military intelligence officer in Vietnam, earning three Bronze Stars. He returned to work in the Milpitas Police Department, where he served as a patrol officer and traffic officer until 1973.
In 1973, Dial was hired by the Lakewood, Colo., Police Department where he rose through the ranks and served for the last five years as assistant police chief. He came to Naperville in 1990.
Mayor George Pradel kicked the emotional ceremony off Wednesday by thanking Dial for making the move in 1990.
"Thank you for coming to Naperville," Pradel said. "You brought the wisdom, knowledge and expertise necessary to allow Naperville to have the best department anyone could ever want. I appreciate you."
Officer Ernie Knight credited Dial with bringing the department's rules and regulations up to the current times.
"His leadership has resulted in many things, most of which can't be seen or quantified," he said. "We are an example in the state and nationwide, and for that we have to thank the chief."
Dial also heard from Hinsdale police Chief Brad Bloom, Chicago FBI Chief Robert Grant, Naperville Fire Chief Mark Puknaitis and Edward Hospital CEO Pam Davis, many of whom presented Dial with plaques honoring their relationships with him.
Jack McCambridge, former chair of the city's Board of Fire and Police Commissioners, came empty-handed.
"I don't have a plaque for you chief, but I've got a good handshake," McCambridge said. "Congratulations."
Dial himself said he was overwhelmed by the presentations and left his officers with some parting words.
"Naperville is a tremendously supportive community. I'm proud to have served in this community for 22 years, and I'm proud to finish my career here," Dial said. "To the men and women of the police department, thank you. Stay safe and continue with the outstanding job you've done. I feel good about having you as my protector now."