The Wilma D. Stricklin 2004 Award:
Lt. Pettit started her policing career in 1975 when few women were entering the profession. Lt. Pettit began her career as a NIU police officer in 1980. She was truly a pioneer, role model, and leader for other women selecting a career as a police officer. In 1998 she attended the FBI National Academy. She continued to achieve, provide leadership and serve, as she received a series of career promotions leading to her present rank of Lieutenant.
She helped rejuvenate a campus wide intervention group now known as the Interpersonal Violence Response Team. She worked collaboratively with university and local service providers seeking and being awarded a $400,000 grant by the Department of Justice Project to Combat Violent Crimes Against Women on Campus. Lt. Pettit coordinates training programs to improve police personnel responses to victims of criminal sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking. Through educational training programs, developing the Late Nite Ride Program and conducting classroom presentations involving women's issues, Deb has clearly made a significant contribution to the safety and services for women on campus. She continues to add personal skills such as sign language and emergency medical technician training as part of a larger effort to professionally assist all community members.
Lieutenant Pettit exemplifies twenty-nine years of leadership through her commitment, work ethic, initiative and community service. She has not only impacted Northern Illinois University and this community by improving police service and campus safety, she has also helped to create a model of policing that assists the people throughout the DeKalb community.