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Newly promoted CPD deputy chief dies in apparent suicide at Homan Square facility

The death of Deputy Chief Dion Boyd was announced by CPD Supt. David Brown, who urged officers to take care of themselves: “There is no shame in reaching out for help.” Boyd was sworn in as deputy chief of criminal networks on July 15.

Newly-promoted CPD Deputy Chief of Criminal Networks Dion Boyd (right) was sworn in during a promotion ceremony at CPD headquarters by retiring First Deputy Supt. Anthony Riccio on July 15.
Newly-promoted CPD Deputy Chief of Criminal Networks Dion Boyd (right) was sworn in during a promotion ceremony at CPD headquarters by retiring First Deputy Supt. Anthony Riccio on July 15. Boyd died Tuesday, an apparent suicide.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

A newly promoted Chicago police deputy chief was found dead Tuesday morning of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in the Homan Square police facility on the West Side.

The death of Dion Boyd, 57, was announced at Chicago Police Department headquarters Tuesday afternoon by Supt. David Brown.

Brown, flanked by other members of the CPD’s leadership, said Boyd was “a respected command staff member.”

He was with the department for nearly 30 years.

“There’s really no way to convey or express the magnitude of this loss,” Brown said. “We are shocked and saddened at the loss that is deeply felt by me and the many colleagues and friends with whom Deputy Chief Boyd worked and mentored throughout his career.”

Brown pleaded with officers to “always remember to take care of ourselves and each other.”

“There is no shame in reaching out for help,” he added. “Please, officers, please, stay humble, stay human, stay safe and stay well.”

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown walks off the stage after a press conference about the death of Chicago Police Deputy Chief Dion Boyd, who was found dead in an apparent suicide at the CPD’s Homan Square facility Tuesday morning.
Chicago Police Supt. David Brown walks off the stage after a press conference about the death of Chicago Police Deputy Chief Dion Boyd, who was found dead in an apparent suicide at the CPD’s Homan Square facility Tuesday morning.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Boyd was found dead in his office Tuesday morning, a source said. It was unclear when he was shot.

He’d been sworn in as deputy chief of criminal networks on July 15 in a series of leadership changes by Brown. The unit does investigations into gangs and drug trafficking.

Boyd was previously the Area One commander on the South Side and commander of the Wentworth District. His career included experience as a tactical officer, undercover officer in narcotics, homicide detective and internal affairs officer.

Police sources who’ve met with Boyd recently to discuss investigations said he was interested and upbeat.

Chicago Police Department Deputy Chief of Criminal Networks Dion Boyd (right) with CPD Supt. David Brown at his promotion ceremony at CPD headquarters on July 15.
Chicago Police Department Deputy Chief of Criminal Networks Dion Boyd (right) with CPD Supt. David Brown at his promotion ceremony at CPD headquarters on July 15.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Those who knew Boyd said he struggled with the death of Samuel Jimenez, one of his officers in the Wentworth District, who was killed by a gunman at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center in Bronzeville in 2018.

Donovan Price, a crisis responder and frequent presence at shooting scenes across the city, said he got to know Boyd after the Mercy shooting.

Price said Boyd was even-keeled but “always had a permanent pleasant demeanor.” He took pride in his work and “you could see his mind working on what could possibly be built from what was going on,” Price said.

It’s not unprecedented for Chicago police officers to take their lives while on the job. One particularly bad year was 2018 when Chicago Police Officer Brandon Krueger fatally shot himself in the head at a Far South Side police station. Also that year, Sgt. Steven Bechina of the department’s Mass Transit Unit fatally shot himself while on duty in the West Loop.

Suicides have been a continuing problem for the Chicago Police Department for years. In 2017, the U.S. Justice Department reported that the city’s suicide rate among officers was 60% higher than the average of 18.1 officers per 100,000 nationally. The report recommended improvements in mental-health counseling available to officers.

Boyd’s body was taken from Homan Square by ambulance in a procession that included a fleet of other Chicago police vehicles. It headed to the Cook County medical examiner’s office, where dozens of other officers had converged in a show of respect. A giant American flag hung between the partially raised ladders of two fire engines.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot offered her condolences Tuesday afternoon.

“We are truly at a loss of words by the death of Deputy Chief of Criminal Networks Dion Boyd,” the mayor wrote on Twitter.

“This devastating loss will not only be felt at every level of this Department, but in the countless communities and homes Deputy Chief Boyd touched during his decades-long service to our city,” Lightfoot wrote.

“To every officer, we want you to know that you are deserving of help and healing, and no one needs to struggle alone. This City has a fundamental obligation to support each of you, and over the coming weeks, we will be taking steps to bolster our support network so that every first responder understands that help is available.”

She urged any officer “who is suffering and feels they have nowhere turn” to reach out to the department’s chaplains or employee assistance program if needed.