Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel has named Garry McCarthy Chicago's next police superintendent.
The Newark, N.J., police chief will be installed when Emanuel gets sworn in as mayor. He'll replace Jody Weis and temporary superintendent Terry Hillard as the new top cop.
"I am incredibly honored and thrilled to be here," McCarthy said during a press conference Monday morning at OEMC headquarters. "We're going into the summer, and obviously I have to hit the ground running."
The announcement comes after President Barack Obama's news of Osama bin Laden's death, something McCarthy feels close to as a member of the New York Police Department during 9/11. McCarthy started his career at the NYC department as an officer before being hired as officer precinct manager and then deputy commissioner until 2006, when he went to Newark.
"It's certainly the most horrific event I've ever experienced," he said of 9/11, telling media it taught him how to stay cool under pressure and lead with confidence. "What it did make me realize is just how precious life is."
McCarthy said his CPD goals include reducing crime across the board and, importantly, reducing the fear of crime in Chicago. To do that, he said the city needs a "cohesive violence reduction strategy" that involves tracing gun trafficking into Chicago and working on gang issues, something he admitted he needs to learn more about.
But first McCarthy said he would make good on his promise to go through the Chicago Police Academy and get certified as an Illinois law enforcement officer. "I have to earn the right [to wear the uniform]," he said.
McCarthy was considered a front-runner for the position thanks to his street cop background and experience with CompStat, a four-step process that helped reduce homicide rates in New York City. Emanuel has emphasized his desire for both of those qualities, saying he wants someone who supports beat officers and can bring down violent-crime numbers in the city.
The Chicago police board announced Friday it picked McCarthy among three top finalists for the job. The other two on the list are from Chicago: Chief of Patrol Eugene Williams and Debra Kirby, deputy superintendent overseeing the Bureau of Professional Standards.
Emanuel on Monday called McCarthy "eminently qualified" and thanked Hillard for his lifetime of service and for stepping up in the past few months. "Please do not change your cell number," Emanuel joked.
Emanuel also announced Bob Hoff will be retained as Chicago Fire Department Commissioner.
"This was an easy choice," Emanuel said, pointing to Hoff's 30-plus years of city service and a call from many firefighters to keep Hoff in the role.
"It's a privilege to continue to do the job," Hoff said. "I believe our department is the best, but can it get better? Yes it can."