Gatto remembered by City Council

OFFICER REMEMBERED – Members of the Braidwood City Council observe a moment of silence prior to the regular meeting on Jan. 23, in honor of Officer Mike Gatto. Gatto, a 25-year veteran of the BPD, who passed away on Jan. 12.
Marney Simon
Staff writer

Members of the Braidwood City Council took a moment away from city government to honor a local police officer who passed away earlier this month.

On Jan. 23, the council members observed a moment of silence in honor of Officer Michael “Mike” Gatto.

Gatto passed away on Jan. 12.

Mayor Jim Vehrs said Gatto was a dedicated officer, spending a quarter century patrolling the streets of Braidwood.

“He was an excellent officer, he never said a bad word,” Vehrs said “He went through six administrations, and he just stayed on track. I learned some stuff from him, and he… helped me guide the city in some ways that I would not have thought.”

K-9 Officer Joe LaCost also spoke about his time with Officer Gatto, who helped train him when he joined the department.

“When I first came here, the first person I worked with was Officer Gatto,” LaCost said.  “He showed me the town a little bit differently than everybody else shows it. He showed me the history of it, how it all started and where everything was at, everything I didn’t know.

“Obviously, I can read the street signs, but to look around and see where everybody lives and where everybody grew up, and how he knew everybody and all the kids, it was just totally different. So, I just want to say thank you, I appreciate it.”

Gatto began his career as a sheriff’s deputy in McHenry County, followed by nine years as a correctional officer at Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet.

Gatto joined the Braidwood Police Department in 1992.

Gatto was 65. Funeral services were held on Jan. 18.