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NIU chief cleared of wrongdoing

DEKALB -- The panel reviewing allegations made by a student newspaper editor against Northern Illinois University Police Chief Donald Grady has completed its work and found no evidence of misconduct or inappropriate actions, according to a news release from the university.

Grady, who has been on leave since the allegations were made in October, will be reinstated to his post today, according to school officials.

“Northern Illinois University engaged in a very deliberate and thorough investigative process in reaction to potentially criminal allegations made against a university official,” NIU President John Peters said in the statement.  “NIU takes all allegations of professional misconduct seriously. The findings of the impartial and independent review panel, chaired by the Honorable John L. Nickels, a former Illinois Supreme Court justice, exonerate NIU Police Chief Donald Grady of misconduct or inappropriate actions.”

The review was prompted by an Oct. 8 editorial in the Northern Star, NIU’s student newspaper, which called on university officials to remove Grady from his post.

The newspaper’s editor said that during an August interview, Grady yelled at him for nearly three hours, accused him of ruining the career of a patrol officer who had recently resigned and at one point offered the possibility of future employment if the Northern Star would write a story that painted the resigned officer in a favorable light.

Grady also implied that the student could face personal or professional negative implications if he didn’t write the story, according to the newspaper’s editor.

The same day the editorial appeared, Williams issued a written statement saying the school would undertake a "comprehensive review" that would "include an evaluation of the assertions and concerns raised by the editorial board."

Grady, who has been chief since 2001, has been and remains on paid administrative leave since Oct. 9. Three lieutenants are running the NIU Police Department in his stead.

The review panel was chaired by retired Illinois Supreme Court Justice John L. Nickels. Other members were Marlon C. Lynch, associate vice president for Safety and Security at the University of Chicago, and Robert T. Marshall, Jr., who recently retired as vice president for Student Services at South Suburban College in South Holland.

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