Former Naperville police commander target of probe
BY BILL BIRD email@example.com October 6, 2012 3:14AM
Updated: November 8, 2012 12:15PM
A onetime Naperville police commander who went on to become chief of the downstate Edwardsville Police Department is under investigation by the FBI and Internal Revenue Service.
Director of Police James S. Bedell resigned his position on Friday, Edwardsville Mayor Gary D. Niebur said.
“This office has learned that former Chief Bedell is under investigation by federal authorities,” Niebur said Friday in a prepared statement obtained by The Sun.
“We obviously find this troubling and of great concern,” Niebur said. Edwardsville municipal officials are “fully cooperating” with FBI and IRS agents, “but are unable to provide any comment” because the probe is being coordinated by the U.S. attorney’s office, he said.
A St. Louis website, stltoday, reported U.S. Attorney Steve Wigginton said federal agents on Friday executed search warrants at Bedell’s home and at the police department. They also served subpoenas for departmental records, the website reported.
Bedell, 56, is a former Plainfield resident who served 23 years with the Naperville Police Department. He bested 64 other applicants and was appointed Edwardsville’s director of police in September 2007, following a search and candidates’ evaluation conducted by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.
A native of Downers Grove, Bedell earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Governors State University in south suburban University Park. He was promoted in 2004 to the rank of lieutenant, a title the Naperville Police Department retired in 2007 in favor of commander. He also oversaw the city of Naperville’s major event-planning between 2000 and 2007.
Bedell in 2006 was the recipient of an award from CAPS, Naperville’s Citizens Appreciate Public Safety organization. He was recognized for traveling with members of three area churches to the village of Montenaula, Honduras, where they built a medical clinic and homes for the people there.
“The village lost about 98 percent of its housing when Hurricane Mitch came through in 1998,” Bedell said in 2006. “Twice a year, 20 to 40 people from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Aurora, Naperville Evangelical Covenant Church and Trinity Lutheran Church in Burr Ridge go there to help. So far, we have built about 60 homes.”
When asked why he used his vacation time to do such work, Bedell replied it gave him “an opportunity to do something for people. It is giving back to people who have far less than we have.”
Bedell, in an interview with The Sun prior to leaving Naperville, expressed excitement over the impending move to Edwardsville.
“It’s a new challenge in my career and it’s a good opportunity for me,” Bedell said in 2007. “But I would always be sad to leave (Naperville). Everybody’s been great to me throughout my career.”
Edwardsville is about 250 miles southwest of Naperville.
, in the metropolitan St. Louis area. It has a population of about 25,000.