Dean Strzelecki was born in Chicago to the proud parents of Joseph and Dorothy (Dotty) Strzelecki (Perzan). Dean lived with his family on the far west side of Chicago for 16 years, where he attended and graduated from St. Francis Borgia Grammer School, which was attended by a large concentration of Polish Americans. His family moved to California for one year, however, missing family and cultural heritage, moved back to the Chicagoland area, settling in Niles. He graduated from Maine East High School, Park Ridge in 1970. Dean then enrolled in a Tool and Die Maker Apprenticeship program sponsored by the Federal Government. He subsequently graduated successfully from the Tool and Die Academic program from Triton College, River Grove with an Associate’s Degree in Tool and Die Making.
In 1975, after three years in the work force, Dean decided to change careers and joined the Niles Police Department. After completing the academy, he was assigned to the Patrol Division, where he honorably served for 8 years and was recognized by the Chicago Tribune for his effective Community Policing Techniques. In 1983, Officer Dean Strzelecki was transferred into the Detective Bureau where he successfully served for five years. Dean was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 1988, and was assigned to the Patrol Division as a Field Sergeant. In 1989, he was transferred into the Administration Division where he procured many of his administrative skills. He was responsible for communications, community relations, business liaison, animal control and building maintenance. This is where Dean started to develop his relationship with the Niles Chamber of Commerce and the business community. In 1992, he was assigned to the Watch Commander position and attended the School of Police Staff and Command administered at the Northwestern University Traffic Institute, now known as the Center for Public Safety. In the year 2000, Dean attended the FBI National Academy, Class #200 and upon his return was appointed Deputy Chief of the Administration Division in the Niles Police Dept. In addition to regular duties, he was assigned to chair the Police Committee for the construction of the new police facility. He attended the Executive Management Seminar held by the Northwestern Univ. Center for Public Safety in 2001 and received the Public Safety Executive Leadership Award from Northwestern in 2002. In 2001, Dean obtained his Bachelor’s Degree from Northeastern Illinois University. In 2003, he was transferred to the Patrol Division and held the position of Deputy Chief, until his appointment to the position of Chief of Police in September 2004. In June of 2014, Dean received the Cook County Police Chief of the Year award from the Illinois State Crime Commission.
During his police career, Dean received numerous honorable mentions and Distinguished Duty declarations. He also received the Chiefs Award of Merit for saving the life of a senior citizen from a burning building. In 1995, Dean received the Niles Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award. He has held board positions and Past President status in the Niles Optimist Club, the Niles Chamber of Commerce and the Liponi Foundation for Special Recreation, which funds an organization that provides recreation to individuals with special needs. Just recently Dean was given the Director Emeritus Status (Director for Life) in the Niles Chamber of Commerce. He has held board positions on the St. John Brebeuf Athletic Board and the Northwest Italian American Society where he received the Man of the Year award in 1993.
Dean is married to his lovely wife, Laurie, and they have two beautiful daughters, Deana, who is married to Brad Tokarz, and Stephanie, who is married to Mark Swiderski. Dean also has three beautiful granddaughters, Kailey, Emma and Gianna. He is very grateful for his family and credits his wife and children for much of his success due to their support and understanding.
Dean is proud of his Polish and Italian heritage. He also gives credit for his success to his work ethic due to his upbringing and guidance from his parents and family.