Retired Naperville police chief brings fresh perspective to criminal justice program
By David Dial, Director of Criminal Justice Program
As I think about the future of the criminal justice program at Aurora University, I reflect on my 45-year career in law enforcement and the significant changes I’ve seen in policing. From the growth and changing demographics of communities to the shift in technology, police departments are being taxed in new and challenging ways.
For 22 years, I served as Naperville Police Chief and much of my time was focused on molding the police department so that we were better prepared to adapt to constant changes. I retired from the Naperville Police Department in May, and as the new Director of the AU criminal justice program, it’s my previous experience that shaped my vision for the program’s future.
Today’s criminal justice professionals are being met with challenges that were unimaginable 15 years ago. Cyber-crime, the threat of terrorism, increasing heroin abuse in our suburban communities and a significant decline in fiscal resources represent a few of those challenges.
My goal at AU is to develop students into criminal justice practitioners who are exceptionally qualified to meet those challenges. Our program already has a cadre of first class instructors and a diverse curriculum. Our focus in the future will be one of continuous improvement and offering cutting-edge course options to enable our students to meet their potential in a variety of criminal justice careers. It’s also important to focus on intelligence-led policing, which is a policing model built around risk assessment and management that has emerged in recent years. The criminal justice program has provided a consistently strong educational experience for our students. Moving forward we hope to build on its success to make it the best and strongest program in the Midwest region.
Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to learn from and work with incredibly bright individuals who have all had a positive impact on my life. I came to AU hoping to do the same by enriching our students’ educational experiences and preparing them for today’s workforce, so that they can have a great career and make a difference in the communities they serve.
Following my law enforcement career, working at AU was the next natural step and is a perfect fit. It’s been a rare honor for me to serve in a profession that I have thoroughly enjoyed for more than four decades and I look forward to sharing my passion with men and women who are dedicated to keeping our communities safe.