Committee confirms McCarthy for top cop job

June 6, 2011 (CHICAGO)

McCarthy, 51, told the 10-member Public Safety Committee he wanted the job permanently as he unveiled his strategy to reshape the Chicago Police Department through a commitment to integrity and increasing police presence in high-crime areas.

"If I need to, I will stop the administrative function of this agency to put every single cop on the street to stop our children from getting shot," McCarthy told the committee. "I have this vision. there's no doubt in my mind it can be achieved."

McCarthy wants to put 200 more officers on the street by cutting administrative and desk job assignments. He has already promised to re-allocate 500 cops to neighborhood beats for the summer.

"He understands the importance of addressing quality of life issues, which is something that my residents are concerned with, and school safety issues," said Alderman Pat Dowell, 3rd Ward.

"You all know I've been an advocate for resource reallocation for a long time, and I think this is the first step towards that, but we still have a long way to go," said 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale, Public Safety Committee.

The Washington, D.C. based National Black Police Association supports McCarthy but wants assurances he will partner with minority communities to fight crime.

"There is some tension between black communities and the Chicago Police Department, and it's important that that tension is addressed," said Christopher Cooper, National Black Police Association.

But McCarthy's detractors question his plan to take community policing to another level.

"This so-called community policing that he's allegedly going to advocate is non-existent anywhere he's been," said Pat Hill, African American Police League.

McCarthy was a cop in New York City for 25 years before becoming the head of Newark, New Jersey's Police Department for the last five years. He has been on the job here since Mayor Rahm Emanuel was sworn in three weeks ago.

"I am going to be in front, leading from the front, not pushing from behind, and that's the example I want to set for the Chicago Police Department," he said.

McCarthy said he also intends to work closely with the Chicago Public Schools to develop a plan to protect students from violence before, after, and during class.

Nearly half the City Council along with the public showed up Monday morning for McCarthy's confirmation hearing. The room was so packed that the meeting was moved to the larger council chambers.

The Fraternal Order of Police declined to make any comment about McCarthy's confirmation. A full City Council is expected to take up McCarthy's confirmation on Wednesday.

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