San Diego Union-Tribune, The (CA) - June 11, 1993
William Donald Gore, who started his police career as a patrolman in 1941 and retired more than three decades later as third in command of the San Diego Police Department, died Wednesday of leukemia at Grossmont Hospital. He was 73.
Although Mr. Gore was born in Ortenville, Minn., he came to California with his parents as an infant and always considered himself a native. He attended the old Lincoln Elementary School and graduated from Hoover High School, class of 1938.
He studied engineering at California Polytechnic State University but left after two years. He had decided that law enforcement was his career choice instead of engineering, but the entrance age was 23 and he was only 21.
Mr. Gore started out in the fire department but when the age requirement was lowered for police officers, he quickly switched jobs entering the police department in the winter of 1941.
He wore the blue uniform of a rookie and was assigned to a walking beat. He then went to the vice squad for five years. From then on, Mr. Gore was in and out of the detective division. Of this 32 years on the force, he worked more than half that time in the investigative bureaus.
Mr. Gore was promoted to sergeant in 1952 and then to the rank of lieutenant six years later. He was a captain in 1962 and appointed inspector in 1967. Police Chief Ray Hoobler named him deputy chief in the spring of 1971.
Eventually, he returned to college and earned a degree in police science from San Diego State College (now San Diego State University). He also held a teaching credential and taught police science at both San Diego City College and Miramar College for more than a decade.
Because of his ability to talk to people, he became known on the force as the "soft sell man," preferring in tight situations to talk people into compliance with the law.
He once told a reporter that he had very few fights during his career because he found he could talk most people into jail rather than fighting. Not that his gentle way always worked. He did accumulate a scar or two in handling suspects who weren't persuaded. Once, he was hit with a chair while breaking up a barroom brawl. Another time, he was bitten on the hand. He was hospitalized and his arm was saved only by the then-recent advent of penicillin.
Mr. Gore also believed that it was important to volunteer his time and talent to the community. He served on the board of directors of the National Conference of Christians and Jews and the law enforcement committee of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce. He also served on the board of governors of the International Service Organization, as a member of the Selective Service System and on the Citizens Interracial Committee.
Mr. Gore was an elected representative to the San Diego Police Officers Association for 18 years, serving as president for three terms. He was credited with being instrumental in establishing the 40-hour work week for police officers.
When he retired from the department in 1974, Mr. Gore took the post of executive vice president of Dyna Med Inc., a Carlsbad firm dealing in emergency medical products. He worked there for two years. He went on a Caribbean cruise with his friend Thomas Erler, who wasn't feeling well, and wound up running Erler's Datsun agency in Escondido for three years.
In 1981, Mr. Gore was tagged for a top spot with a new organization, Strategic Security Services, where he headed the division providing protection for executives during travel. He stayed with that company for several years, retiring to spend more time getting involved with community volunteer work.
Former Police Chief Bob Burgreen asked Mr. Gore to develop a volunteer program utilizing the talents of retirees. These volunteers filled a variety of routine jobs throughout the police department, freeing officers for other tasks. Today, the program has been expanded to 200 volunteers and is duplicated all over the country.
Police work was a family affair in the Gore clan. All three sons entered law enforcement. The oldest son, Larry, recently retired with the rank of commander with the San Diego Police Department. The middle son, Michael, was a deputy sheriff for the county for more than a decade and now works with the Washington state gaming commission. Bill, the youngest, is currently special agent in charge of the FBI office in Seattle, Wash.
In addition to the three sons, survivors include his wife of 47 years, Dorothy; one sister, Helen Skinner of Napa Valley; seven grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
A memorial service was held at 11:30 a.m. Monday at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church. Retired Police Chief Bill Kolender will deliver the eulogy. Burial will follow at El Camino Memorial Park.