DeKalb’s new mayor is pledging to continue the momentum that is happening in the City. After taking the oath of office Monday night, Cohen
Barnes shook hands with outgoing Mayor Jerry Smith. “I’ve said this to this City Council, over the last couple of years especially, we are on a roll. We have great momentum for us. And with this body, I think we can continue that momentum,” said Smith. “So, Mayor Barnes, do me a favor will you – let’s continue this momentum.”
While saying he has huge shoes to fill, Barnes promised to do so.
“I really look forward to working with this team, this Council, in order to continue the momentum that we have going on to help to make sure that we realize the beauty, the wonder and, what I believe is, the greatness that this community has,” said Barnes. “And I will, during my four years, always and passionately be proudly DeKalb.”
New Second Ward Alderwoman Barb Larson and new City Clerk Sasha Cohen were also sworn in Monday night. “I’m excited to be here and be part of this team,” said Larson. “I hope that we can live up to Jerry’s (request and) keep it moving for another four years.” City Clerk Cohen thanked the residents for entrusting him with his new position.
“I just want to let residents know that I will be always open and receptive if you have comments, questions, concerns or needs,” said Cohen.
Fourth Ward Alderman Greg Perkins and Sixth Ward Alderman Mike Verbic were also sworn into new terms.
David Byrd has joined his new police family in DeKalb.
Byrd was sworn in on May 3 as DeKalb’s new police chief by DeKalb County Circuit Court Judge Ron Matekaitis, and Byrd’s mother pinned his badge to his new DeKalb Police uniform.
Well-wishers included colleagues from Byrd’s last job at the Illinois State Police, where he was deputy director of patrol, family members, and longtime friends. One of Byrd’s friends from high school is Emmerson Buie Jr., who is now the FBI special agent in charge of the Chicago Field Office.
“I’ve watched him grow as an individual, as a man, I’ve watched his career in law enforcement, and every time I heard something about him, I was proud, and I’m even proud to see him today,” said Buie. “Thank you, DeKalb, for giving him this opportunity, but trust me when I tell you you’re fortunate to have him because they don’t come any better.”
After hearing from those who know Byrd the closest, City Manager Bill Nicklas says he is proud DeKalb and its new chief chose each other.
“You picked us with your application. You had confidence in us, and I have no doubt that your confidence will be reenforced many times with the men and women of the DeKalb Police Department. Thank you for that,” said Nicklas in front of the large crowd at the swearing in. “And I have to say to all of you, I’m just damn proud and honored that we picked him.”
And Byrd thanked the City for the opportunity. “DeKalb has just been fantastic to me,” said Byrd. “I’m just excited to be a part of this family now.”
DeKalb Police Officer Jonathan Bell is part of the Faces of Belonging exhibit - one of the projects in an initiative by the City of DeKalb, Northern Illinois University and a collection of local agencies with the aim of bringing the DeKalb community closer together.
The Belonging initiative to develop a belonging community was sparked by a virtual conversation in October 2020, led by Dr. John A. Powell, who leads the Belonging Institution at U.C. Berkley. Joining the city and the university in the effort are Family Service Agency, the Ellwood Museum and the DeKalb County History Center.
“The social justice movement that has positively energized the dialogue about racism in our country and in this community since May 2020 has also helped us engage one another in finding what unites and humanizes us,” Nicklas said of the project. “It is our hope that this initiative will encourage our diverse community in the further exploration of how we can better embrace one another as we work, learn and live together.”
Learn more about the project by clicking the image to the left.