New director will lead AU criminal justice program into the future

Jodi Koslow Martin (right), Interim Dean of the College of Professional Studies at Aurora University, speaks during the retirement party for Naperville Police Chief David Dial earlier this month. Dial will start as the Director of the Criminal Justice Program at AU this fall.

During his 45-year career in law enforcement, David Dial has seen many significant changes in how police work is conducted. The growth and changing demographics of suburban communities, for example, have taxed police departments in new and challenging ways. In Naperville, Ill., where Dial was police chief for 22 years, the population exploded from 85,000 to 145,000 people during his tenure.

But when asked about the biggest single shift in policing over the past four decades, Dial doesn’t hesitate with his answer: Technology has revolutionized law enforcement, from the introduction of in-squad laptops and computer forensics labs to the rise of identity theft and online threats.

“It has absolutely changed how we police in so many ways,” he said, “both in how we use it to do our jobs and the use of technology to commit crimes.”

Dial, who retired from the Naperville Police Department on May 18, will start working at Aurora University this fall as Director of the Criminal Justice Program. He plans to build on the program’s strengths, which he said includes well-qualified instructors and diverse offerings, by expanding course options that prepare students for a variety of criminal justice fields.

“Education has to change along with technology,” Dial said. “My vision for this program is to make it the very best in the entire region. I want to change students’ lives and give them the same thing I’ve had — a great career.”

Jodi Koslow Martin, Interim Dean of the College of Professional Studies, said Dial will help continue to grow the undergraduate, adult and graduate criminal justice programs, as well as launch an online degree program.

“Dave is an exemplary leader with impeccable character. His years of experience, as well as academic credentials, make him a great fit for leading the criminal justice program into the future,” she said. “His understanding of technology and its application to criminal justice professions will prepare our students for the workforce.”

The timing of Dial’s retirement intentionally corresponded with National Police Week, which honors fallen officers across the nation. On his final day as police chief at the end of the week, he attended the annual awards ceremony where Naperville officers were honored for their police work over the previous year.

“That’s how I walked out the door: talking about all the great police work our officers have done,” he said. “It’s been a rare honor for me to serve in a profession that I have thoroughly enjoyed for more than four decades. I have appreciated very much the opportunity to serve in this community and work with such fine men and women dedicated to keeping this community safe.”

Dial holds a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement and administration from San Jose State University, a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Colorado, and a master’s degree in homeland security and defense from the Naval Postgraduate School. He starts at Aurora University on Aug. 16.