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Local

Nicklas named acting NIU Police head

NIU police sergeants defend department on eve of court ruling

DeKALB – Northern Illinois University has named Bill Nicklas as the acting director of the university's police department and public safety.

NIU spokesman Brad Hoey said there is no change in the status of Police Chief Donald Grady. Eddie Williams, executive vice president of finance and facilities and chief of operations, previously held the role Nicklas now has.

Hoey said the restructuring is a result of a judge's ruling Nov. 2 that the NIU Police withheld witness statements that were favorable to former NIU officer Andrew Rifkin, who is accused of raping a student off-campus.

Lt. Kartik Ramakrishnan said he mistakenly placed two witness statements in Rifkin’s personnel file, rather than giving them to prosecutors. Those witness statements show the victim told other NIU students that she had an ongoing consensual sexual relationship with Rifkin.

Nicklas' appointment also comes one day after a group of NIU police sergeants issued a statement defending Ramakrishnan and Grady's integrity, and criticizing DeKalb County State's Attorney Clay Campbell for using the case for political gain. Campbell called for the Illinois State Police to investigate the department Monday, the day before he lost his re-election bid.

A state police spokesman said that Campbell has not formally requested an investigation yet.

Before his appointment, Nicklas served as the associate vice president of institutional planning and sustainability. He has also had high-ranking positions in both the cities of DeKalb and Sycamore.

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