Chief of Police, Michael DeVries

Leading a dedicated team to serve our community

Photos courtesy of the Village of Downers Grove

In honor of National Police Week in May, Anne Healy, Associate Publisher, catches up with Michael DeVries, Chief of Police for the Village of Downers Grove. DeVries was promoted to the position in January.

Q│Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

A | I grew up in Darien, Illinois, and attended Hinsdale South High School. After high school, I studied criminal justice at the College of DuPage.

I began working part-time as a community service officer for the Clarendon Hills Police Department and as a 911 dispatcher for the North Riverside Police Department.

After finishing my Associate’s Degree, I was hired as a full-time police officer with Clarendon Hills. I spent two years in Clarendon Hills before being hired as a police officer in Downers Grove.

Since starting here in 2000, I’ve served in various roles, including Patrol Officer, School Resource Officer (SRO), Detective, Patrol Sergeant, Detective Sergeant, Patrol Lieutenant, Lieutenant of Investigations, and Deputy Chief of Operations, before being promoted to Chief in January 2023.

While I was assigned as the SRO for Downers Grove South High School, I got to know many people in the community, and ultimately, my family decided to make Downers Grove our home.

Q│Your educational background ranges from a Master of Science in Public Safety Administration to a graduate of the FBI National Academy. What drives you?

A | First, I’m incredibly grateful to the Village for the opportunities they’ve given me. I’ve been fortunate to attend specialized training in and out of state to pursue my education.

Working the night shift as a new officer allowed me to finish my Bachelor’s degree.

My schedule as an SRO allowed me to finish my Master’s degree on the weekends. Knowing there is always something new to learn to become better at my job has always driven me to keep going.

Q│Was there anything that impacted you to take this path to serve on the police force?

A | I grew up watching the TV show “COPS” with my dad. Whenever I saw the police on a call or in the community, I always wondered what they were doing.

So, when I turned 16 years old, I applied to and started in the Cadet Program at the Willowbrook Police Department. Instantly, I knew this was the career I would pursue.

I’ve been fortunate to enjoy my job, which feels like it comes naturally to me.

Q│After directing traffic in the cold in February, you were a buzz on social media. Tell us more.

A | I have to admit that was kind of a crazy experience. On my way into the office, I saw traffic backed up on Main Street. I had been listening to the radio and knew that the Washington Street train crossing was closed.

Many people stood in the roadway up ahead, so I checked it out. Metra was unloading passengers from one train and putting them on another, which blocked the Main Street crossing.

I exited my car and started moving traffic to the Forest Avenue crossing. A resident who was getting coffee recognized me from a recent newspaper article as the new Chief.

We had a short interaction about why the Chief was directing traffic, and he posted a very nice message on social media. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time and tried to help.

It ended up getting a lot of attention, but truthfully our officers handle jobs like these, and tougher ones every day of the week, at night while people are sleeping, and on holidays when everyone else is with their families. They deserve a lot more credit.


“Knowing there is always something new to learn to become
better at my job has always driven me to keep going.”

– Chief of Police, Michael DeVries


Q│You have served in Downers Grove for 22 years; what changes have you seen?

A | I think the biggest changes to the Department have come in the form of training and technology.

Our officers are held to an extremely high standard and receive significant training in dealing with people in crisis, de-escalation, and use of force through virtual learning, practical exercises, simulators, and now virtual reality.

We’ve also made significant advances in the technology we use to do our jobs. When I started here, our reports were handwritten.

Now we use mobile electronic reporting, computer-aided dispatching, in-car cameras, body-worn cameras, cloud-based evidence storage, license plate readers, and drones to help us do our jobs more effectively and solve crimes.

Q│What are some of your favorite events in Downers Grove from a personal or professional perspective?

A | I’ve come to appreciate the community events held in downtown Downers Grove. My family loves attending the Independence Day Parade, tree lighting, and Halloween window painting.

My favorite event from a personal and professional perspective is probably the Grove Express.

Many of my family members walked in the event this past year, and my daughter and I drove the lead car. I hope it’s a tradition we can continue for years to come.

Chief DeVries with his family at swearing-in ceremony.