Page 35 - March 2021
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 profusely. Woitel drew a bead on the man from a distance and put a shot through a wrought-iron fence that took him out. She turned out to be the daughter of 005 Commander Glenn White and the god- daughter of Al Wysinger, the first deputy at the time.
“He’s a real-deal police hero, that guy. He’s truly somebody that should’ve been teaching us all how to shoot and should have been teaching us how to be detec- tives,” McGrath commented. “We al- ways joked about how for anyone else it would’ve been the golden ticket prob- ably, but Geoff just kept his nose to the grindstone and kept going to work.”
Woitel just had too much brightness, too much lust for life to be anything but a street copper, a true rank-and-file guy. When he was off the job and the sun shone, he loved rolling up on his Harley. He was a member of the Legion of St. Mi- chael Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club, where he was nicknamed “Twisted.”
McGrath recalls how Geoff would tell stories that went on forever to a killer punch line. Father Dan extols how if you walked into a place and Geoff was there, you knew you were going to have a good time.
McGrath used to be a regular compet- itor in “Chicago’s Funniest Cop,” an an-
CPD Directing Chaplain Father Dan Brandt leads a prayer for Woitel outside his home in Norwood Park.
nual fundraiser run by the 100 Club of Chicago. He even won one year. His con- sultant for the competition was Woitel.
“He was a laugh a minute. Even in the most dire situations and somber situa- tions, he was somebody that you could rely on to make you laugh,” McGrath continued. “If you were having the worst day possible and I saw Jeff come in to work on the floor, I immediately was like, ‘Oh, I’m going to laugh right now no mat- ter what’s going on.’”
Woitel was more than the life of the party. He was the life of everybody’s life. His good humor enabled him to offer re-
lentless peer support and help other offi- cers understand the importance of men- tal health and taking care of themselves.
“Maybe they needed him up there,” McGrath memorialized. “St. Michael might have needed some backup.”
To life
The send-off for Woitel came togeth- er in 36 hours, a true viral response to a man who touched so many, as Father Dan remarked during his tribute. The hundreds came out to tell him how they felt and covered a blue line flag with
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