Naperville police chief Dial retiring in May

  • Longtime Naperville Police Chief David Dial says he plans to retire in May.

    Longtime Naperville Police Chief David Dial says he plans to retire in May. Daily Herald file photo

Updated 1/23/2012 7:53 PM

Naperville Police Chief David Dial will retire May 18 from the post he has held for the past 22 years.

Tuesday marks his 45th anniversary as a police officer, Dial, 67, said he chose May 18 to ensure he leaves on as high a note as possible.


"That week of May 14 is National Law Enforcement Week and that Friday, May 18, is when the Naperville Police Department holds its annual award ceremony," Dial said Monday. "So I chose May 18 so I can get up there and honor the fine men and women one last time and then just walk right out the door."

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 a traffic officer until 1973.

"That was such a tumultuous time for the country. Anti-war protests were going on, and I was part of a countywide unit at Stanford University to keep control of protesters," he said. "The '60s and early '70s also saw significant increases in crime and was a much more dangerous time for police officers."

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.

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"By the time we moved into the 1980s, police departments began acknowledging that we couldn't do it by ourselves," he said. "And by the time I arrived in Naperville, police departments had all begun developing community policing philosophies and recognizing the need to develop a relationship with the citizens they serve."

Dial attributes that philosophy to his success and long tenure in Naperville.

"Naperville is the greatest city to be a chief in. I consider myself to be the most fortunate chief in the country because of this supportive community," he said. "In fact, in my tenure, I'm most proud of the relationship this department has formed with the community and the community support we have been able to have."

City Manager Doug Krieger spoke of Dial's success in a news release.

"Chief Dial currently leads one of the most effective and efficient police agencies in the country," Krieger said. "The police department has played a key role in enhancing our quality of life and making Naperville one of the safest cities in America."

Dial said he and Krieger will begin talking about finding his replacement in the coming months but fostering that relationship with the city will be key for the next chief.


"They need to find a dedicated person who is knowledgeable and has great communication skills," Dial said. "To be chief here, you have to devote the time and effort to becoming a part of the community and being open enough to also listen to the people who work here, the ones doing the job."

Dial said he'll be staying in Naperville with family and soon-to-be six grandchildren. In June, he's heading to California for his 50-year high school reunion but after that, he hopes to land a teaching job somewhere in the law enforcement community, but not one that would take time away from his retirement.

"I've got to have time to perfect my fly-fishing in the summer, you know," he said. "I gave up perfecting my golf game years ago so now I'm game for anything, so I'm tackling fly fishing."

Dial is a former chairman of the DuPage Metropolitan Enforcement Group and a past-president of the DuPage County Chiefs' of Police Association. He is a member of the International Association of Chiefs' of Police Community Policing Committee, a former board member of the Illinois Association of Chiefs' of Police, and the Illinois State Terrorism Task Force. He was also chairman of the Homeland Security Committee for the DuPage County Chiefs' of Police Association. In 2006, he earned a second master's degree, a Master of Arts Degree with a major in Homeland Security and Defense, from the United States Naval Postgraduate School.

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