Unpinning the Badge

After 22 years, the city’s Police Chief is unpinning his badge for good.
Chief David Dial selected the Friday during national Police Week as his final day on the job.

While growing up in California, David Dial never thought about becoming a police officer. After one semester as an engineering major at San Jose State University, he decided to pursue Police Science, and after his first ride along he knew he had found his calling.

“I thought, ‘this is for me. I can’t believe they pay you to do his job,’” said Dial. “This is just a tremendous amount of fun and satisfaction.”

After graduation, he took a two-year leave of absence to go to the military, serving in Vietnam as a military intelligence officer for the Army. In 1969 he came home, got married, and went back to being a cop, never missing a beat. He joined the Milpitas Police Department in California where he loved being on patrol.

“When the sun went down it just turned the city into a different city,” said Dial. “I just really loved it. Part of it was the excitement of the job, part of it was being able to help people, and make a difference in the community.”

In 1973 Dial left California and moved to Lakewood, Colorado where he worked for 17 years. He worked his way up the ranks and eventually becoming the assistant chief. Then in 1990, Dial moved yet again, landing the chief position here in Naperville.

“Naperville was about 85,000 people in 1990 and was going through a continuous period of rapid growth,” he said. “A lot of things were going on in the community and in the police department. We went through a period of growth and trying to keep up with some of the changes in the community.”

Over the past 22 years Dial has helped transform the Naperville Police Department into a nationally recognized model for community and intelligence policing.

Assistant City Manager Bob Marshall is picking up where Dial left off. Marshall retired from the police department as a captain in 2005, but is excited to return to 1350 Aurora Avenue.

“The more and more I talked to people and the more and more I thought about it, I got more and more excited about being the next police chief after Dave Dial,” said Marshall. “It’s just really a dream come true.”

Dial leaves the city with words of encouragement, and advice, to his replacement.

“You’re coming into a really great police department,” said Dial. “There’s a lot of community support and a lot of really good police officers. There’s some great relationships with neighboring agencies, foster those relationships and keep them going.”

Dial may be leaving the police department, but he’s not leaving Naperville. He is ready to start a new chapter in his life as the Director of the Criminal Justice program at Aurora University. But he’ll always have fond memories of his time as a police officer.

“It has been a rare honor for me to serve in a community like Naperville,” he said. “It’s just been great, I’ve had a wonderful career and I got to do something I really, really wanted to do. I’ve been blessed to be able to do it for a long time and to do it in a community like Naperville, it’s just been wonderful for me.”

The Naperville Police Department has another change in positions, after 29 years of service Deputy Chief Gary Bolt is also retiring. He is joining Chief Dial at Aurora University as the Director of Campus Public Safety.

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