Woodstock Police Games

I found a new web site about things McHenry County.

It’s called “McHenry County Advocate.”

Dr. Richard W. Gorski is its author.

He has written a story about the Woodstock Police Department which, despite my title’s take off of Tom Clancey’s “Patriot Games” has nothing to do with patriotism.

But there do seem to be games afoot.

With Dr. Gorski’s permission, I reprint his story below:


After almost twenty (20) years of serving and protecting the citizens of the City of Woodstock Illinois how does the Sergeant get a simple “thanks”?

…..he doesn’t…he gets a complaint filed against him from the relatively new Chief of Police Robert W. Lowen Jr., who still lives in Carpentersville.

It used to be if you were the Chief of a Department you not only had to live in the county but also the city; after all you, as a responsible Chief, should want to be available within minutes when duty calls.

Maybe there is a different set of rules if you are this new “boss” that I don’t know about…times do change.

I do know that when I was on emergency room call for the two local hospitals in McHenry County I had to be available within about 20 minutes at all times…I did not always like it but duty calls and you do it…it your responsibility to the people you serve.

In any event, this last summer on or about 29 August 2007 the Chief filed a complaint asking Woodstock’s Board of Fire and Police Commissioners to fire the Sergeant [Steven R. Gorski, the author’s son] because the Chief accused him of abusing prescription pain medications.

No mention of the in-line of duty spinal injuries he had sustained was initially mentioned as the reason for the need for legitimate, physician prescribed pain medications.

The Commissioners consisted of Ronald Giordano, Lawrence Howell, and Thomas Schroeder all of Woodstock along with an attorney hired by the City of Woodstock to act as council for the Board.

The Chief through his City appointed and paid attorney Anne K.E. Brophy of the Law Firm of Zukowski, Rogers, Flood and McArdle of Crystal Lake prosecuted the Chief’s complaint and took over four and one-half months(4 1/2)… that’s correct, 4 1/2 months. The Chief and prosecution rested their case on Feb. 4, 2008.

I can only imagine what the legal fees amounted to for just this first part of the process and wonder if the Woodstock tax payers will ever find out the dollar cost to them.

We all have seen capital cases (murder trials – criminal cases)last a lot less than this civil process (non criminal) case which was still not completed.

Now you might think that it would take Sergeant Gorski’s attorney Thomas Loizzo,of Woodstock, at least another four and one-half months (4 1/2) to present a defense for the Sergeant.

It took attorney Loizzo a few minutes and a few sentences.

Mr. Loizzo respectfully requested that the Board consider a Motion for a Directed Verdict (Decision).

What this means is that Sergeant Gorski and his attorney did not present a defense against what the prosecution had presented for over 4 & 1/2 months. The Sergeant and his attorney believed that the Chief and the prosecution did not meet the burden of proof to find the Sergeant guilty of the Chief’s complaint and to warrant his being fired from the Woodstock Police Force.

On February 4, 2008 the Board granted the motion for a directed finding and met privately to discuss the complaint.

After several minutes they rendered there finding.

The Board found unanimously (3 to 0) that the Chief failed to meet his burden to establish the guilt of the Sergeant.

The Board ordered that the charges against Sergeant Gorski be dismissed and no disciplinary action was recommended whatsoever.

The Board also directed that all back pay with statutory interest be paid to the Sergeant and he be reinstated when he can resume his duties.

To date he has not received one penny of his back pay much less any interest.

Instead the costly legal saga continues with the filing of another Complaint by the Chief, this time For Administrative Review by the 22nd Judicial Circuit of McHenry County.

Named now by the Chief of Police as Defendants are all the Commissioners, Ronald Giordano, Lawrence Howell and Thomas Schroeder and now new co-defendant Sergeant Steven R. Gorski.

Politics and legal tactics and the alleged inability to accept no to your request for discharge from the Police Department sure make strange bed-fellows.

The hearing will be before Judge McIntyre on July 18, 2008 in her courtroom.

The Saga of Sergeant Gorski who was cleared of all charges along with his empty pocketbook and the continuing legal fees of Zukowski, Rogers,Flood and McArdle will continue in that courtroom like a never ending story.

Where are the tax payers of Woodstock in this equation…nowhere to be considered by City officials it seems.

I can only hope and pray and that in the end justice and truth and common sense will triumph and raw power, clout, ego and deep tax payer pockets do not prevail.

Also of possible interest is the McHenry County Advocate’s story

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