Debra K. Kirby, Esq.
Debra Kirby has been a champion for change throughout the majority of her career in the law enforcement and public safety field. As Deputy Chief Inspector with the Garda Siochana Inspectorate, which reported directly to the Minister of the Irish Department of Justice and Equality, Kirby recommended improvements within An Garda Siochana, the national police force of Ireland and made major contributions to critical areas such as crime investigation, organizational reform and modernization and child sexual abuse investigation.
Upon retiring from the Chicago Police Department (CPD) as Chief of the Bureau of Organizational Development, Kirby was the highest-ranking female in the Department, having held leadership positions in multiple administrative and operational domains. In 2012, Kirby served as the law enforcement lead and co-chair for the 2012 NATO Summit National Special Security Event in Chicago during which the CPD provided world-class service with minimal disruption to the event or ongoing business.
During her career in the CPD, Kirby accomplishments included: (1) integration of community policing practices within the investigative function and creating a whole-community response to domestic violence; and (2) command experience in organized crime and internal affairs with an acute focus on integrity systems, covert operations and the need for strong accountability practices in support of operational priorities. She also established the first FBI/Internal Affairs Task Force in the nation; as a result, federal investigations and administrative actions directed at serious misconduct increased significantly under her command, as did the use of modern investigative practices.
In 2008, Kirby was selected as General Counsel by the first outside Superintendent appointed to the CPD over 40 years. In this capacity, she led reform on prisoner treatment, LGBT policies and officer-involved shooting reviews. Partnering with the independent oversight agency for CPD’s use of force, the Independent Police Review Authority, she developed a program for presentation and review of the findings of the agency focused on training, supervision and policy related to shooting incidents. She was an instrumental partner in addressing the CPD’s response protocol for officer-involved shootings as per the agreement between the Independent Police Review Authority and the CPD.
Kirby has significant labor relations experience, having negotiated the first supervisor’s contract for sergeants in the CPD, and subsequently representing the CPD as General Counsel in later negotiations for all officers.
A licensed attorney in the State of Illinois, Kirby has a Master’s Degree in Homeland Security, awarded by the Naval Postgraduate School and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. Kirby was a Fulbright Scholar for police studies. Her undergraduate degree from University of Illinois at Urbana was in Finance.