CHICAGO (WLS) -- Steve Georgas was the Chicago Police Department's consummate behind-the scenes operator for decades; planning and overseeing security at marathons, music festivals, sports rallies political events and hundreds of visits by presidents and other dignitaries. His retirement had been in the making for a long time. But what he didn't know was that his last major assignment would be to deal with the street chaos of two week ago.
After turning in badges spanning nearly three decades, he sat with the ABC7 I-Team on Monday to talk about mayhem he's managed, leaders he's worked with and colleagues he's taken to their final rest.
"I left college early to go into the police academy," said Georgas in his exit interview with investigative reporter Chuck Goudie. "It's really the only job ahead outside of part time jobs through high school and and working with family businesses-so it's really bittersweet but like we like to say-we're gonna miss the clowns but not the circus."
Sometimes a circus with more than three rings. From so-called sports celebrations to the 2012 NATO Summit that boiled over in the streets, Georgas said he's helped secure 110 million people during his career "without a single major incident."
He was chief security officer at McCormick Place two weeks ago when city violence erupted. As the I-Team first reported, after a rough Saturday May 30, next day CPD officials called veteran Georgas into the command center to help adjust the police response.
"Everything comes down and some core foundational things when it comes to mobilizing large resources, handling large scale special events, and it's just you know, over my years. I had a lot of experience in in dealing with that and putting that together" he explained. "I guess what surprised me the most was almost how, in some ways it was very orchestrated, not only here but across the country."
Georgas was also CPD's funeral director, something he struggled to talk about in the interview.
"In my role in my experience I had to bury 16 police officers. One of them, my dear friend Paul Bauer," he said, fighting back tears.
Commander Bauer shot dead in the Loop two years ago after a foot chase. Georgas planned his friend's honor funeral, and other officers killed over the years. He describes it as, "Probably the hardest days on the job, for sure. For sure."
Chicago police go-to man for large events retires from force