CHICAGO (WLS) -- After more than three decades on the force, Chicago Police Department's second in command is retiring.
First Deputy Superintendent Anthony Riccio is hanging up the badge August 1 after 34 years as a police officer.
"It's been a great run, I loved it. It's been a long, long time," he said looking back at his career.
The 57-year-old says he was planning on doing it sooner, but decided he couldn't walk away during the height of COVID-19 or after the George Floyd protests, admitting the department wasn't ready for either.
"This was a completely different event. We had no idea this was coming, it was an incident that happened hundreds of miles away," he said.
The fear of becoming the next viral video and the pandemic has made officers more cautious in his opinion, which he says he believes has contributed to this summer's spike in violence.
"They are much more cautious on how they engage people and when they engage people," Riccio said.
While he has never wanted the job himself, Riccio is confident Superintendent David Brown is the right guy to lead the department.
He pointed out that if we want to curb violence, CPD, the community and the Fraternal Order of Police must all hit the reset button. Despite the current lack of support for police, he says their role has actually become more positive compared to when he started all those years ago.
"We were very militaristic. We would got into the neighborhood with the mindset of, we are in charge; we are going to lock this neighborhood down," he said.
The career cop says the hardest part of the job was burying fellow police officers, but added that the good days outweighed the bad.
"Those are horrible, horrible days, those are days you go home and wonder why are you doing it," he said.
When Riccio leaves next month, he says he plans to take some time off before going back to work. He says he been offered several jobs in the private sector and eventually hopes to return to policing as a suburban police chief.
CPD's 2nd in command retires after more than 3 decades on the force
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