Southwest Side street dedicated to police officer

Drunk DrivingMichael GordonU.S. ArmyChicago Police DepartmentMichael ZalewskiHuman Interest

Dozens of Chicago police officers and officials gathered this morning to dedicate a Southwest Side street to Officer Michael Gordon, who was killed in a car crash while on duty in 2004.

Gordon’s family joined officers and public officials at 51st Street and Leamington Avenue, where they unveiled a street sign bearing his name. The intersection is near his grandparents’ former home in the Garfield Ridge neighborhood.

“It’s been very hard these past seven years, but it’s been a great honor for us,” said Gordon’s mother, Carol Gordon.  “(The street dedication) meant a lot to us.”

“I’m glad that we can come by and actually look at this,” she said.

It’s important for Chicagoans to show appreciation for police any time an officer loses his or her life in the line of duty, said Michael Zalewski, alderman of the 23rd Ward, which includes the 51st and Leamington intersection.

“They’re on the job 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Zalewski said.

Even though he grew up in Cicero, Michael Gordon spent a lot of time in Garfield Ridge at his grandparents’ house. He was baptized and played baseball down the street from the honorary sign, family members said.

“It’s keeping his memory alive,” said the officer’s father, Bob Gordon. “We thought it fitting. This was his second home.”

Gordon and Officer John Dalcason were patrolling the Harrison District on the midnight shift when a drunk driver ran a red light, hitting their car. The officers were thrown from their vehicle. Gordon, 30, left behind a wife, infant daughter, two sons and a stepson. Dalcason was injured.

The driver’s blood-alcohol level was more than two times the legal limit, according to authorities. He died the morning of the crash.

Gordon was a great guy and a hard worker, said John McKenna, a Chicago police officer who served with Gordon.

“He was always there to back everybody up,” McKenna said.

Gordon was the future of the department, said Chicago Police Capt. Gerry Caroll.

Caroll testified in Springfield with Gordon’s father to push the Michael Gordon Law, which enhanced penalties for DUI convictions.

“(Michael Gordon’s) family and he are the best things about the City of Chicago,” Carroll said.

Gordon came from a family of police officers. He took a $15,000 pay cut to join the Chicago Police Department in 2002, after serving in Riverside, where he won awards for his service. Gordon started his police career as a military officer attached to the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division.

Gordon always wanted to be a cop, his mother Carol said.

“He loved every minute of it,” she said. “This was the job he loved, the job he wanted to be at.”

agroeninger@tribune.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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