(DEKALB) FBI agents and Illinois State Police investigators descended on the Northern Illinois University police station Wednesday to serve a search warrant in what they called an “ongoing criminal investigation.”
Documents were removed from the station during the unannounced search, which began about 8 a.m., a law enforcement source told the Sun-Times.
By mid-day, ISP vehicles still were parked outside the building in the center of the DeKalb campus, and a uniformed state trooper guarded one of the public entrances.
But authorities weren’t disclosing what triggered the search, except to say it’s related to an investigation involving the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The move was “not in response to any public safety concerns,” the FBI said in a statement, while declining to say what investigators hoped to find or why multiple agencies were involved.
Without providing specifics, a source said there were several “components” to the investigation.
In a statement, NIU officials declined to comment but said “the university is cooperating fully in this matter.”
The NIU police department—and the university—have been involved in controversies in the past year, though it’s not clear if any of them triggered Wednesday’s search.
Long-time Police Chief Donald Grady was fired last month for his handling of rape charges filed in 2011 against former NIU police officer Andrew Rifkin.
The charges against Rifkin were dismissed by DeKalb County prosecutors last November after a judge ruled NIU police intentionally withheld evidence that favored Rifkin.
University leaders at that time asked ISP to review the conduct and operations of the department—though the same rape charges were re-filed against Rifkin last month.
In a separate case, eight NIU employees and a former NIU finance official were hit last October with theft charges for allegedly channeling cash from the sale of scrap metal into a “coffee fund” to pay for social events.
Those charges are still pending.
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