Police chief shot in Reagan assassination attempt retiring

Tim McCarthy is retiring after nearly half a century in law enforcement


Associated Press

ORLAND PARK, Ill. — A suburban Chicago police chief who was wounded in the assassination attempt on then-President Ronald Reagan is retiring after nearly half a century in law enforcement.

Tim McCarthy, who has served as Orland Park's police chief for 26 years, is retiring Aug. 1.

Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy revisits the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan on its 30th anniversary during an interview at his office at Orland Park Police Headquarters in Orland Park, Ill., March 29, 2011. (Joseph P. Meier/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy revisits the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan on its 30th anniversary during an interview at his office at Orland Park Police Headquarters in Orland Park, Ill., March 29, 2011. (Joseph P. Meier/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

McCarthy, 71, said he wants to spend more time with his wife, children and grandchildren.

“This has been absolutely a great run,” McCarthy told the Chicago Tribune. “Time catches up to you. Sometimes you have to turn to family, and it’s time.”

In 2016, McCarthy became the first recipient of the Chief of Police of the Year award given out by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said in a news release that McCarthy “has provided steadfast and dependable leadership to the men and women of the Orland Park Police Department throughout this entire period.”

Prior to becoming Orland Park's police chief, McCarthy served for eight years in the Secret Service’s Presidential Protective Division and 14 years as a criminal investigator. In 1981, he was shot in the chest while protecting Reagan when John Hinckley Jr. opened fire.

“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,” McCarthy told WSL-TV.

McCarthy retired from the Secret Service in 1993 and was named Orland Park’s chief in 1994.

Deputy chief Joseph Mitchell will be appointed interim police chief following McCarthy's retirement.

McCarthy is retiring at a time when police officers are being criticized. But he said he hopes it doesn’t discourage people pursuing a career in law enforcement.

“Most of our departments are extremely professional, but we do make mistakes. But we got to minimize those. What happened in Minneapolis should’t have happened,” he said, referring to the May 25 death of George Floyd. Floyd, who was Black and handcuffed, died after a white officer used his knee to pin Floyd's neck for nearly eight minutes.

Associated Press
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