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McCarthy Hits The Ground Running As Chicago’s Top Cop

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Supt. Garry McCarthy

Police Supt. Garry McCarthy sits down with CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – With another mob attack Tuesday night in the Gold Coast, and several more over the weekend, new Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy has his hands full.

McCarthy is set to be confirmed by the City Council later Wednesday. On Tuesday, CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine went behind the scenes with the new superintendent, listening in as he told Mayor Rahm Emanuel his plan for the city.

“Unless Rahm Emanuel calls or Corey Booker calls, I’m all yours,” McCarthy told Levine.

Booker was McCarthy’s old boss in Newark. Emanuel is his new one. And guess who called just 60 seconds after McCarthy made that remark.

The cell phone call broke up the first time.

“God, I hope he doesn’t think I hung up on him,” McCarthy said.

But McCarthy’s self-deprecating sense of humor doesn’t hide his fierce determination, which makes him a good match for the man who hired him.

“He called me at 5:30 in the morning to wake me up to offer me the job,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy’s call with Emanuel later resumed. They spoke for 10 minutes about new school security plans, and the latest violent crime statistics.

“My concern really hinges on the shooting numbers right now, mayor, and I want to get that over a 10 percent reduction for the year. I want to go with double digit numbers,” McCarthy told Emanuel over the phone. “All right, so I have six months to pick up a 7 percent differential…. I think we can absolutely do it.”

How? It’s simple, he told those attending an executive staff meeting that morning,

“We’re going to fight this like a ground war,” he said.

Emanuel’s troops in that ground war had a war of their own with the last superintendent, Jody Weis, whom they considered an outsider. McCarthy says he’s already spoken to 1,000 officers at roll calls and on the street during his first three weeks here.

On Sunday, he went to Rush University Medical Center to check on officers injured in a scuffle that led to the shooting of a suspect.

“The officers were trying to arrest him, and he drove away. The officers were in grave danger,” McCarthy said. “Fortunately, everybody is OK.”

McCarthy has had plenty of experience at crime scenes like the one he saw Sunday, slowly working his way up from beat cop in New York to top cop in Newark.

He is now facing new challenges in a new city, such as security at the upcoming Taste of Chicago in Grant Park.

Meanwhile, a whole new department is watching his every move.

“Even though I was not a Chicago Police officer, you can tell – cops can tell – when somebody has walked in their shoes,” he said.

There is a learning curve for any outsider taking over a high-profile position in Chicago, to figure out how people are going to react to things you say and do. For example, McCarthy had to issue a second statement about the Magnificent Mile mob attacks after the mayor had a tough time with reporters Tuesday.

It probably was not enough to jeopardize McCarthy’s confirmation, but more than enough to get his attention.

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