Orland Park police chief shot in Reagan assassination attempt to retire after decades in law enforcement

ORLAND PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- A southwest suburban police chief who was shot during the assassination attempt on former President Ronald Reagan is retiring after decades in law enforcement.

Timothy McCarthy, who served as Orland Park's police chief for 26 years, is planning to turn in his badge next month. The 71-year-old is looking forward to spending more time with his wife of 47 years and their children and grandchildren.

"It has been a great career," McCarthy told ABC7. "I would do it for another 10 years but family, at some point, comes first."

This ends a 48-year career in law enforcement, including working for the U.S. Secret Service.

McCarthy spent 8 years assigned to the Presidential Protective Division in Washington, D.C. In 1981, he was shot in the line of duty while protecting President Reagan during an assassination attempt.

"I turned toward where I thought the shots were coming from, attempted to make myself as big as I could and lo and behold, I was hit right in the chest," he said.

McCarthy said he had a great relationship with President Reagan and his wife Nancy, after Reagan left office.

"But you have to remember that it is business too, and you have to separate those things," he said. "That was my job to protect him, President Carter, whoever it was. Glad I could do it at the time. Glad the training paid off."

The son of a Chicago police sergeant, McCarthy is equally proud of his time as police chief of his community.

"Our crime is lower right now in index crime in 2020 than it was in 1994, when we were a much smaller community," McCarthy said.

He's retiring while the country is having a conversation about policing. He said he hopes it doesn't discourage people from pursuing a career in law enforcement.

"Most of our departments are extremely professional, but we do make mistakes," McCarthy said. "But we got to minimize those. What happened in Minneapolis should't have happened."

Deputy Chief Joseph Mitchell will be appointed interim chief when McCarthy retires on August 1st.
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