As a boy growing up in Oak Park, Len Jorgensen admired the man on his block who worked in the village’s police department. The neighbor, a captain in the department, was always greeted with respect when he returned home from a day spent fighting crime.
This week, on April 23, Jorgensen will end his own career in the Oak Park Police Department and retire after nearly 34 years on the job.
“Being an Oak Park policeman was the only thing I ever wanted to do,” Jorgensen said during his last week.
His career started as a community service officer, according to Deputy Chief Carl Leidy, and then Jorgensen became a dispatcher for the department. He would later be sworn in as a police officer and climb the ranks to commander, the position he holds today. Only 54 years old, Jorgensen spent his entire working life in Oak Park. And he can see the similarities between his career and that of his childhood neighbor.
“It actually came full circle,” Jorgensen said.
The lifelong Oak Parker said he’s looking forward to taking it easy. Jorgensen and his wife have three adult sons and the couple live in his wife’s childhood home.
Leidy praised his colleague’s leadership style and people skills, complimenting Jorgensen as “the whole package.”
“It’s gonna be a loss for us,” Leidy said. “He’s a professional and has been a great mentor for the younger officers we’ve had.”
For sure, Jorgensen said he’s enjoyed his career but has no mixed feelings about calling it quits. There are projects around the house to do, he said, and that will be plenty.
“I’m going to sit on my front porch and watch the grass grow,” Jorgensen said.