DeKalb Police Department

City of Dekalb

The search for DeKalb’s new police chief is finally over.



David Byrd is DeKalb’s newest police chief. The hiring of the Chicago native and 31-year veteran colonel with the Illinois State Police received no objections from DeKalb City Council.



 The DeKalb Police Department may be sporting body-worn cameras sooner than anticipated.


The DeKalb City Council unanimously approved a contract with Axon Enterprises, Inc. to purchase body-worn cameras for the police department. DeKalb City Manager Bill Nicklas says it’s a step in the right direction.  


Peter Medlin

The City of DeKalb is selling the old City Hall building and using some of those funds to buy body cams for police in an effort to increase police transparency.

Between the dash cam footage of Elonte McDowell’s controversial arrest late last year and the recent protests that followed the death of George Floyd, DeKalb community members have been calling for leaders to reimagine not just the culture of local policing but how police are funded.

DeKalb Interim Chief of Police John Petragallo is ready to take off his badge.

“Mayor, Council, City Manager Nicklas, I would like to thank you for the opportunity of being your interim police chief for last year,” Petragallo said.

He gave his thank you speech at DeKalb’s city council meeting May 26.

Petragallo spent his first year in law enforcement with the Freeport Police Department. He then transferred to DeKalb. He’s held several positions, from working in narcotics to being a patrol officer.  

DeKalb Incident Highlights Traffic Stop Disparities

Apr 17, 2020
Sarah Jesmer

Over the past few months, in the wake of a controversial traffic stop that resulted in a 30-day suspension of an officer, DeKalb community members have continued conversations about police accountability. 

A viral video showed several officers including Sgt. Jeffrey Weese attempting to physically restrain Elonte McDowell during the Aug. 24, 2019 stop.

DeKalb Police Department/Facebook

Many police officers across the nation have tested positive for COVID-19. That includes, most recently, a member of the Rockford police force.  The DeKalb police department has put guidelines in place to minimize the spread in its organization.

DeKalb Residents March For Policing Changes

Nov 11, 2019
Noah Johnson

NIU students and DeKalb community members demanded accountability this Saturday with a protest.  It was a follow up to a controversial arrest this summer.

Sarah Jesmer

The recent arrest of Elonte McDowell by DeKalb-area law enforcement has sparked a conversation about racism and fear of police within communities of color. 


McDowell was arrested on a Saturday morning, August 24. Joe Mitchell watched a cell phone video of his arrest on Monday.



Video posted to Facebook by Alyssa Retuerto

A DeKalb church will host a community meeting to discuss last weekend's arrest of a man that has prompted an investigation into excessive use of force by city and county police officers.

Counting Crime In DeKalb's Largest Apartments

Jul 26, 2019
Sarah Jesmer

This piece is part three in a series about housing conditions in DeKalb. Tune in Friday, August 2, for the last update in this series.

Last week, we took a look at the controversial history between the city of DeKalb and Hunter Properties, a large local rental property owner. A network of DeKalb community efforts are addressing crimes reported at apartments, which have recently been under the microscope.

Katie Finlon/WNIJ

Some area schools received several significant safety threats following the Parkland, Florida, shooting where 17 people were killed. For this week’s Friday Forum, WNIJ’s Katie Finlon talks with school and law enforcement officials about how they plan to communicate with parents and the public about such threats from here on out.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

The first phase of the DeKalb Police Department’s Safe Streets Initiative begins this week. That means some residents will need to get parking permits from the city soon to avoid getting ticketed or towed.

DeKalb police officials say overall crime decreased in the city, but the actual number of shootings increased due to a recent string of incidents in areas close to the Northern Illinois University campus. Visitors now aren’t permitted to park along Russell Road and Crane Drive between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

DeKalb Police Department

Bogus money is circulating around DeKalb.

The currency says “MOTION PICTURE USE ONLY” where the words “THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” should be, according to police officials.

DeKalb police officials say about six incidents were reported within the last week or so about the bills – which do not have watermarks, color-shifting ink or a security thread – being used as legitimate money.

DeKalb Police Commander Steve Lekkas says authorities are collecting video surveillance of the offenders.

July 26 is recognized as "Speed Awareness Day" in the state.

More than 360 people died in 2015 as a result from speeding. 

The DeKalb Police Department is posting awareness signs and bumping up its patrols for the campaign. 

Commander Steve Lekkas said the extra efforts are meant to bring attention to the risks of driving too fast.

DeKalb Juvenile Offenses Increase By 100 In One Year

May 21, 2017
DeKalb, Illinois Police Department

Juvenile crime in DeKalb rose from 2015 to 2016, according to the last police department annual report – and overall crime this year is on track to increase from last year.

The most recent DeKalb Police annual report says there were 480 juvenile offenses in 2016. That tops the 2015 figure by more than one hundred offenses; there were the same number of juvenile offenses in 2014 as there were in 2015.

Catalytic Converters Stolen Around Northwest DeKalb

Mar 22, 2017
Wikimedia Commons

DeKalb police are investigating the theft of several catalytic converters. 

The incidents mostly occurred on the northwest of town, and officials have stepped up patrols.  However, they haven't yet named any suspects.  Police recommend residents park in well-lit areas and immediately report any suspicious activity.  

Catalytic converters contain precious metals such as platinum and palladium.  These make the devices targets for thieves, who then sell the metal at scrap yards.  

"Au volant de la mini" by Flickr User julien haler / (CC X 2.0)

The DeKalb Police Department says it’s stepping up its patrols for the Super Bowl Weekend, which follows a grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation for extra safety efforts.


Special patrols are aiming to crack down on alcohol and drug-impaired drivers, and seat belt use.

DeKalb Police Commander Steve Lekkas says there are some misconceptions regarding police.

Flickr User Chris Rice/CC 2.0

Northern Illinois police say residents have reported sightings of scary clowns.   

They occurred in areas such as DeKalb and Rockford and mirror similar reports coming in from across the country since late August.  

Rockford police say most reports have been unfounded, with the exception of one dressed for a radio promotion.

DeKalb police officer Craig Woodruff says there were two reports late Tuesday night. One allegedly fled the scene when spotted by passerby, but the other was reportedly riding a bicycle in a costume.

DeKalb IL Police Department Facebook Page

Several northern Illinois communities have reached out to their local police departments after five Dallas officers were killed in a sniper attack last week.

“In law enforcement, there is a bond and brotherhood of the understanding of what each other does in the performance of our duties, and anytime a police officer’s life is lost in the course of duty, it is a sad moment for all of us,” DeKalb Police commander Jason Leverton said.

DeKalb police officials released a statement recently warning those who play Pokemon Go to exercise caution while involved in the game. But they faced some criticism on the message.

Pokemon Go was released about a week ago, and some stories already have surfaced about players being lured somewhere with Pokemon and getting robbed.

DeKalb Police

A northern Illinois man is accused of beating and stabbing his girlfriend to death and then hiding her body in a closet for more than a day.


Authorities say 20-year-old Michael G. Kulpin of DeKalb is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, aggravated domestic battery and concealment of a homicide.

Police say Kulpin beat and repeatedly stabbed 19-year-old Moorea Desroches during an argument late Friday and early Saturday.

Flickr user Michael Chen "Pills" (CC BY 2.0)

DeKalb residents can safely discard old or unwanted prescriptions from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m this Saturday at the DeKalb Police Department on Lincoln Highway.

The drop-off is anonymous and free.

Sergeant Chad McNett heads community relations for the department. They will partner with the Drug Enforcement Agency for the event. This weekend's collection is one of two held locally every year.