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Cmdr. Joe Gorman Retires from Chicago Police Department

By Casey Cora | December 3, 2013 7:20am
 The veteran officer has left the force to take a job with Amtrak.
The veteran officer has left the force to take a job with Amtrak.
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DNAinfo/Casey Cora and Chicago Police Department

BRIDGEPORT — One of the Chicago Police Department’s top cops has retired as commander of the Deering District.

Joe Gorman, who took the helm of the Bridgeport-based police district just last year, is leaving the $155,000 annual post for a job as a captain in the Amtrak rail service's police department. 

"It's tough but at the end of the day it came down to time with my family," said the 51-year-old father of five. "I've never had a Monday-through-Friday job with regular hours. Now I'll have that, with weekends off. I'll see all of my kids' events — I've missed more than I've made," Gorman told DNAinfo Chicago.

Capt. Leo Panepinto will serve as the district's interim commander.

Gorman served 28 years with the department, first working as a patrolmen then rising the ranks to become a crusader against street gangs as the head of the department's gang investigations unit.

A 1991 Tribune story outlined some of his dangerous work as a tactical officer on the city's West Side; a 2010 story showed his sharp memory — a gang member facing felony drug charges who vanished in 1998 happened to cross paths with Gorman 12 years later at a Western Avenue stoplight. The crafty cop dialed for backup and had the guy arrested.

A Morgan Park resident, Gorman was brought back into the Deering District last year — he once served as a sergeant on the midnight shift — as part of a department-wide shakeup to address shootings and gang violence. The district, at 3120 S. Halsted St., includes Bridgeport, Back of the Yards and McKinley Park.

Officials credited Gorman equally for his no-nonsense style on the streets as well as his leadership tact with the rank-and-file.

“Gorman, that was a great one. [He] could be tough, but he knew how to command troops and to work with the community,” said Ald. James Balcer (11th).

Gorman's departure represents Amtrak's third appointment of high-ranking Chicago police officers this year. Earlier this year, the Amtrak Police Department hired patrol bureau Deputy Supt. Daniel Dugan and former Chief of Patrol Joseph Patterson.