DeKALB – Northern Illinois University officials have named a new acting police chief one day after placing the department head and a lieutenant on paid administrative leave.
Lt. Darren Mitchell, who has been with the NIU Police Department since 2000, will serve as acting police chief while Chief Donald Grady and Lt. Kartik Ramakrishnan are on leave over misplaced evidence in a rape case against one of their former officers.
Bill Nicklas, acting director of public safety for NIU, addressed the student association senate Sunday night to inform students about the change and said Mitchell would ensure a smooth transition.
"I have every confidence that Darren will perform well in this role of acting police chief," Nicklas said in a press release. "Right now the goal is to maintain continuity of operations within the police department to ensure the department continues to serve and protect the campus community."
Mitchell has served as a part of the Critical Incidence Response Team, Interpersonal Violence Response Team and Honor Guard. He most recently served as deputy chief of police and executive director of the Office of Emergency Management and Planning.
Grady and Ramakrishnan were placed on leave after a judge ruled NIU police intentionally withheld important evidence in a case against former officer Andrew Rifkin, who is accused of raping a student.
Grady and Lt. Kartik Ramakrishnan both spoke with two NIU students days after a friend of the students accused Rifkin of raping her. The two students provided statements indicating officer Andrew Rifkin had an ongoing consensual sexual relationship with the victim, but those statements did not make it to prosecutors until a defense attorney brought them to light.