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McCarthy Surprised by G8 Change

Police superintendent says NATO summit still presents a big job and that his officers will be ready

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    NBCChicago.com

    Count Chicago police Supt. Garry McCarthy among those who were caught off-guard by the abrupt announcement that Chicago would not host the upcoming G8 summit.

    "Um, yeah, it's very much a surprise. Honestly, I don't know much about it and I've got to get some facts," McCarthy told WLS radio's Roe Conn and Richard Roeper during a telephone interview.

    The White House on Monday announced it was shifting the venue for the upcoming G8 economic summit, hosting world leaders at the presidential retreat at Camp David in Maryland instead of Chicago.

    The Second City will still host the NATO summit on May 20-21. McCarthy said that means there's still a big job ahead.

    Audio: Supt. Garry McCarthy on WLS radio's Roe & Roeper

    "We specialize in changing gears in mid-stream, and I don't see anything changing right now, quite frankly," he said.

    The superintendent said he felt his officers will be well-prepared for the event.

    "A lot of people are not aware of what it is that we have been doing," he said. "Our standards were well in front of the national standards by the folks who have been doing this all over the country."

    McCarthy said Chicago's hosting of the NATO summit will ultimately be positive for the city.

    "The goal here is not the short term but the long term. It's, you know, people from all over the world getting a look at the diversity and the vibrancy of this international city," he said.

    But the head of Chicago's police union doesn't agree and said separately that happy that at least one of the events was being moved far from the Midwest.

    "Nobody from the police department was really confident in the leadership and in the people who were running the entire show here," said FOP President Mark Shields. "We’re definitely glad this is not happening."

    Initial reaction to news of the venue change from the business community was mixed.