Phillips Named New NIU Police Chief

Aug 28, 2013

Tom Phillips
Credit NIU

There have been several new faces around campus this year, including a new president, athletic director, and now police chief. 

Tom Phillips will start the job Sept. 16th.  Phillips has been deputy chief with the University of Chicago Police Department.

NIU President Doug Baker made the announcement Wednesday morning.

Phillips served in the Military Police Corps between 1987 and 1995 before moving to Chicago, where he briefly served as a special investigator for the City of Chicago’s Office of the Inspector General.

Phillips joined the University of Illinois at Chicago Police Department in 1996. 

He then transitioned to the University of Chicago as a commander in 2012 and was appointed deputy chief in 2013.

According to a news release from NIU, Phillips said that his first order of business will be to assess day-to-day operations and learn as much as he can about his new team and their ideas to improve upon service to the university community.

Last year was a tumultuous one for the NIU police department. Former Chief Don Grady was fired in February, after more than three months on paid leave. Grady was at the center of allegations of police misconduct in a rape case.

Bill Nicklas, vice president for Public Safety and Community Relations at NIU, is enthusiastic about the incoming chief's previous experience working on a college campus.

"The department was very much involved in the search process. I think they see this as an opening of doors and windows to allow some fresh ideas in." - Bill Nicklas, VP Public Safety and Community Relations

Nicklas says one story Phillips told during the interview process that resonated with the panel involved a previous job in which Phillips was asked to look into a number of bike thefts. Phillips found the culprits weren't selling the bikes. Instead, he found many didn't have enough money to get their own.  Phillips worked with local groups to start a bicycle exchange program.

Phillips was selected after a nationwide search conducted by Voorhees Associates L.L.C., in association with Alexander Weiss Consulting. The search firm received 79 applications.