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 In Memoriam
‘I could still hear his laugh’
Detective Joseph Tripoli established a reputation for his stylish fashion on the job. Those who worked with him would suggest that he wasn’t your average Sip- owicz, referring to the famed “NYPD Blue” character played by Dennis Franz.
One of the colleagues who noticed Tripoli’s cutting-edge outfit choic- es was Lodge 7 Second Vice President Dan Gorman. They were in the same detective class, when 130 officers were promoted in 2003. At the time, older de- tectives donned wool sports coats with elbow patches while younger detectives gravitated to trendier outfits.
“The older detectives would make fun of the younger detectives with the new fashion sense,” Gorman recalled. “But Joe’s taste in fashion was more updated. He wasn’t wearing the wool coats.”
Tripoli, 53, passed away on Jan. 3 due to complications from COVID. Gorman said he was a detective who was defined by his can-do attitude and knew how to handle the most complex, difficult or unreasonable cases. He even became one of the few detectives who was given access to the Chicago Transit Authority camera system.
“I can’t criticize anything about his work ethic,” Gorman praised. “Back then it wasn’t uncommon to encoun- ter someone who’s calloused or jaded by the job. But I never saw him in a bad mood.”
Gorman and Tripoli ended up at Area 1 detective headquarters following their promotions. They fostered a friendship largely due to their compatible senses of humor while solving crimes together.
“I could still hear his laugh,” Gorman confided. “It wasn’t a loud, obnoxious laugh. It’s a friendly laugh.”
When he heard of Tripoli’s passing, Gorman remembered the first time he realized he had made a forever friend out of his co-worker. They engaged in small talk to find common ground when Gorman mentioned that he was work- ing on remodeling his kitchen. Tripoli immediately volunteered his own time for two days straight to help with the renovation.
“He didn’t even know me,” Gorman admitted. “That describes his charac- ter.”
Many others joined Gorman in re- calling how Tripoli had character like nobody else. Tripoli’s obituary page in- cludes flurries of comments, donations and photos from his loved ones, who wrote that they were honored to have known him. One comment from Antho- ny Sainz, who knew Tripoli from child- hood, reads:
“You were taken from us way too soon my old friend. You definitely lived a life- time in the short time you were here. I’m glad we crossed paths and remained friends in our grade school. We even called each other best friends for about a month or so in ’77 as kids do. I am honored to have known you. Thoughts and prayers to the entire family.”
There is also a message from Athena Hamlin, who posted a photo of them to- gether, affirming his impact on those he held near and dear to his heart:
“I’m speechless and shocked. Can’t believe you are no longer here. What a joy you were and such a gentleman. You will be truly missed. Thank you for your friendship.”
   Detective Joseph Tripoli
 Chicago Police Department
End of Watch: Jan. 3, 2022

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