On June 12, 2006, Chicago Police Officers John Lally and Geoffrey Woitel responded to a “man with a gun” call. Once on the scene, both officers heard a woman screaming from inside a first floor apartment. As the officers attempted to gain entry to the apartment, they heard another door slam shut as the man dragged the woman out the back of the apartment in an attempt to elude police. The officers immediately went to the rear of the building when they heard someone yell, “he’s got a gun.” Officer Woitel saw the male subject holding the female around her neck and a gun pointed at her head while two other victims, a female and male child, were crouched down. Officer Woitel announced his office and ordered the male offender to drop the weapon several times with no compliance. After the offender made several threats to kill the female hostage, Officer Woitel fired one shot at the offender, striking him in the face, causing him to drop his weapon and release the female. The offender was then placed in to custody.
After reading these stories of heroism and acts of bravery, I am truly honored and humbled to be named as the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation’s Officer of the Month. There are many other officers that deserve this recognition so much more than I do.
I was born and raised in Oak Park, attended St. Giles grade school, Fenwick High School and am the first in my family to have a law enforcement career. After taking one Criminal Justice class at Triton College I decided that there was no other career for me. I then transferred to Western Illinois University in order to achieve my Bachelor’s Degree in Law Enforcement and Justice Administration.
I began my career in law enforcement working for the Cook County Sheriff’s Department of Corrections in 1997 and was hired by the Chicago Police Department in 2000, where I was assigned to the 015th District. While in 015, I worked 3rd watch and tactical and gang teams. I quickly realized that the officers in 015 are truly some of the best police I have ever met and had the pleasure of working with. In 2008, I was detailed to the Training Academy where I worked at the Tactical Training Unit at Near North High School and the Firearms Training Unit. In June of 2011, my detail was canceled and I was sent back to the 015th District.
There are events in everyone’s career that the actions of one officer bring disgrace and discredit upon the entire organization. Then there are times that you feel proud to have taken the oath of allegiance to serve and protect and don that star that will forever shine. For this selfless act of bravery, and the actions of Officer Geoffrey Woitel on this night, I and my family will be forever grateful. Officer Woitel sprung into action as a tactical officer and responded to a call of a domestic. This is usually beneath a tactical officer to respond to a call of a domestic, but officer Woitel didn’t give it a second thought. When minutes count, Officer Woitel was there in seconds. Had it not been for the actions of Officer Woitel on this night, I personally feel that the outcome would not have been the same. You see, this life that Officer Woitel saved on this night was my oldest daughter. She was raised to become a productive citizen. She was sent to undergraduate and graduate school so that she could have choices that would make her life more enjoyable and live comfortably. Instead, she unfortunately got involved with a person that attempted to take her life after she called the engagement off. I wish I could say “God rest his soul; instead I will say Officer Woitel…God Bless Your Soul. You made us all proud. May your star forever shine? You are well deserving of Officer of The Month.