DeKALB – David Byrd, a former colonel and deputy director for the Illinois State Police, was officially sworn in Monday as the DeKalb Police Department’s new top cop.
Byrd was joined by his mother, two of his three children, his lifelong friends and Illinois State Police officers for the Monday ceremony at the DeKalb Police Department on Lincoln Highway. He said he was looking forward to being part of his new DeKalb police family.
“It’s exciting,” Byrd said after he was sworn in by DeKalb County Circuit Judge Ronald Matekaitis. “It’s day number one of many and I’m excited to get started.”
The update comes after the City of DeKalb named Byrd as their next first full-time police chief in nearly two years. City officials confirmed during a March 8 City Council meeting the city already sent an offer of employment letter to Byrd, who accepted.
Byrd will undergo performance evaluations after six months and a year of employment to assess job performance, according to the city’s offer letter to Byrd. The offered pay rate was $150,000, and DeKalb City Manager Bill Nicklas will be Byrd’s direct supervisor. Byrd, who is the City’s first Black police chief, will also receive 13 days, or 104 hours, of vacation time for the year, according to Byrd’s offer letter from the City.
According to the Illinois Comptroller’s Office data, Byrd made a gross salary of $171,800 in 2020 when he was employed by the Illinois State Police.
Former Police Chief Gene Lowery retired in May 2019, and Deputy Chief John Petragallo stepped in as interim after that. However, Petragallo left the department in June 2020, retiring to pursue a career change.
DeKalb Acting Police Chief Bob Redel, who headed up the department’s detective bureau, was selected in June 2020 to fill the interim role, and had himself applied for the permanent chief position but was not a candidate finalist.
Illinois State Police Col. Margaret McGreal, who is Byrd’s successor at the state police agency, said Monday she was privy to Byrd’s application and interview process for the DeKalb police chief position.
“And I can tell you that, the day that he got that call, it was such a great feeling for him,” McGreal said. “Obviously, it was bittersweet for us because we were losing him, but we have established these relationships with him for all of these years. And that will never go away.”
On behalf of Illinois State Police, McGreal said she wanted to thank Byrd for his more than three decades of leadership and friendship.
“And DeKalb, I just want you all to know that you are getting a diamond in the rough here,” McGreal said. “He is a phenomenal leader and I know he’s so excited to become part of the DeKalb Police Department.”
Byrd said he wanted to thank everyone who came to the ceremony on Monday, including what he called his Illinois State Police family.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything more than what’s in front of me today,” Byrd said. “ … At the end of the day, I just won’t let you down.”