Lieutenant John Garrido retires from Chicago police force, where his father also served
by BRIAN NADIG
On Friday friends and co-workers filled the Community Room at the 16th (Jefferson Park) District Station to bid farewell to Lieutenant John Garrido, who has retired from the police force after 32 years of service.
“He’s a true leader and genuinely cares about the officers,” district captain Mike Barz said, adding that Garrido routinely finds ways to build officer morale. “In the 16th District, no officer has done more than John Garrido. He’s always representing us in a positive light. … This is a big loss for the 16th District.”
Officers under Garrido’s command often have the “most fun” and “clear the most cases” due to Garrido’s support and experience, Barz said.
“You’ve done a fantastic job since Day One,” deputy police chief Roberto Nieves said.
Gladstone Park Chamber of Commerce president Dan Ciolino presented Garrido with an award for his dedication to the community. “There is no greater asset to the community than John,” Ciolino said.
Garrido and his wife Anna formed the Garrido Stray Rescue Foundation, which works closely with police districts to reunite lost dogs with their owners or to find new homes for abandoned dogs and other pets. Garrido said that the foundation has saved “thousands” of animals.
Garrido’s father, John Sr., who passed away in 2020, also was a police officer.
“I wish my dad was here,” Garrido said. “My dad was on me like crazy to come on to (the force). He always said you can quit if you don’t like it.”
Garrido said that he almost went to Australia to work on a cruise before making the decision to enter the police academy, calling it the “best decision I ever made.”
“I’ve … met amazing people, (and) you all are my second family.”
Garrido, who twice ran for alderman and both times lost in a runoff election, once by 30 votes, said that he has never been shy to express his feelings and concerns to higher-ups in the Chicago Police Department. He recalled how one time he meant to send an e-mail regarding a policy change to just one person but accidentally sent his message to a long list of police brass, and not all were pleased with the message in the e-mail.
Garrido said that he has “no regrets” about speaking up about the well-being of officers and other important public safety issues.
At the end of the day, according to Garrido, a watch commander or supervisor has these main responsibilities: make sure officers have the support and resources to do their job effectively and to make sure they get home safely to their families each day. He said that little else matters.
“I don’t know if people know how stressful it can be on your family,” Garrido said, recalling his days in the narcotics division. “You’d flip a guy, and (suddenly) you’d be gone for two days” from your family in order to complete the investigation.
As he signed off on the police radio one last time, Garrido said, “You are the true heroes, no matter what anybody says. … I am honored and proud to be a member of the CPD family.”