Former Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy is eager to lead the Willow Springs police. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Former Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy is eager to lead the Willow Springs police. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

‘Put me back in, Coach’ – McCarthy eager to return to law enforcement

By Steve Metsch

Garry McCarthy compared the blockbuster news of his return to policing to that of an athlete itching to get back on the field.

“Put me back in, Coach,” the former college athlete and Chicago Police Superintendent said Thursday morning.

McCarthy, 62, is six years removed from working in law enforcement. He spoke of his new job during a news conference at the Willow Springs Village Hall.

McCarthy was removed from his life’s passion when he was forced out by then Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel in November 2015, after his handling of the Laquan McDonald shooting death by a police officer.

After an unsuccessful run for mayor of Chicago, McCarthy had been content raising a young son at home.

However, an unlikely turn of events – “my neck hurts from my head spinning,” he joked – led to McCarthy taking the reins in Willow Springs.

It was an easy decision for McCarthy.

“This is what I do for a living,” he said. “Policing is not a job. It’s a calling. Having an opportunity to do something positive, to make a difference, at a time like this is critical.”

“I’m relatively well thought of in police circles and I think I’m going to do okay, have an impact,” McCarthy said.

News of his imminent hiring spread quickly Wednesday and his cell phone lit up with 150 to 200 text messages. The village had hoped to introduce McCarthy as chief next week.

McCarthy replaces Jim Ritz, who had been police chief more than three years. Ritz submitted his letter of resignation Monday.

Mayor Melissa Neddermeyer and Village Administrator Ryan Grace both declined to discuss why Ritz resigned.

Ritz did not respond to a message sent to his Facebook page.

The mayor said the village sought “a leader with experience, knowledge and professionalism to continue to move our department forward.”

Neddermeyer said she was “quite surprised” when Grace told her McCarthy was interested in the job.

McCarthy will review current procedures “to ensure we are following the best practices … and we are providing the safest environment for our officers,” Neddermeyer said.

Grace said he reached out to McCarthy through a mutual acquaintance. They talked. McCarthy liked what he heard.

McCarthy, whose first day on duty will be Monday, is eager to get busy.

“It’s funny. You never know where you going to end up,” said McCarthy who worked in New York City and Newark, NJ, before moving to Chicago where he was superintendent from 2011 to 2015.

“You just can’t predict how these things are going to happen,” McCarthy said.

“Timing is everything in life. Also, a little bit of luck always helps. The timing is perfect,” McCarthy said.

“I couldn’t be happier to be here at this place and time,” McCarthy said, noting “it’s pretty clear (what law enforcement is doing) is not working.”

“The bottom line is it’s time for a shift,” he said. “I can’t wait to get back into the game. Put me back in, Coach.”

Being in a small community after leading a force of 13,000 Chicago police officers is not that much a change, he said.

“The scale is almost irrelevant. … Police work is police work,” he said. “There’s a move to go from warriors to guardians.”

McCarthy, pleased to see his first name spelled correctly on the front door of village hall, said he just bought a house in Chicago and will not move into the village.

McCarthy, who was a football linebacker and a baseball first basemen/outfielder at Albany State University, said his 5-year-old son keeps he and his wife busy at home. He has two sons, ages 35 and 31, from his first marriage.

The interim job is for six months during which the village will seek a permanent chief. If interested, McCarthy could be a candidate for the full-time job, Neddermeyer said.

Village Trustee Fred Posch thinks McCarthy’s knowledge will help: “We’re looking for guidance and I think he’ll be a good man for it.”

Lyons Police Chief Thomas Herion, who attended the news conference, said McCarthy brings “trust, integrity (and) honor.”

“He has tremendous contacts in law enforcement (and the) state’s attorney’s office,” Herion said. “It’s a win-win for everybody.”

Formerly with the Chicago Police Department, Herion said he sat on a public safety committee with McCarthy.

“He always came across as a very honorable, hardworking guy.”

Herion noted that murders in Chicago plunged from 800-some to 400-some in McCarthy’s last year there.

“Now, we’re at 800 again. You talk about methods of operation, Garry used to comment that we’re not arresting everyone, we’re arresting the right people.

“That’s how you reduce crime, arrested the individuals who are creating victims,” Herion said. “I will be picking his brain on ideas.”

Also attending was McCook Mayor Terrence Carr.

“This is like bringing Babe Ruth to the tee-ball game,” Carr said.

dvn garry mccarthy willow springs2

Willow Springs Mayor Melissa Neddermeyer (from left) and Village Administrator Ryan Grace are thrilled with the expertise brought by interim police chief Garry McCarthy.

Local News

An American flag is draped in front of the McCook fire station during 9-11 ceremonies. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

McCook hosts celebration of heroes to honor sacrifices of September 11

By Carol McGowan Despite the drenching rain on Sunday, more than 200 people gathered for the annual Celebration of Heroes event at the McCook Fire Department to honor the people who died in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Five villages took part in Sunday’s event: McCook, Riverside, Forest View, Lyons, and Willow Springs.…

Bob Sprinkle (left) swears in Police Chief Garry McCarthy. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

McCarthy named permanent police chief in Willow Springs

By Carol McGowan Former Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy was sworn in last week as the new permanent police chief in Willow Springs. McCarthy, who has been serving as acting police chief since April, was sworn in by Bob Sprinkle, longtime resident and chairman of the Willow Springs Police Commission. He served as Chicago’s top…

justice sign

Justice raises $5,000 for holiday baskets

By Carol McGowan Justice Trustee Jeff Allen said the village raised almost $5 ,000 at the annual car show in August, which will go towards the annual holiday baskets and gift cards program for less fortunate residents. Allen said the car show brought in just over $4,919. Otherwise, it was business as usual at the…

Lanie Reilly, 6, a first-grader at Pleasantdale Elementary School, was Countryside mayor for a day on Sept. 14. She started the city council meeting with Mayor Sean McDermott. Her mother, Jessica, said Lanie “checked out the whole building.” Lanie says she wants to be mayor when she grows up. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Countryside to renovate baseball field at City Park

By Steve Metsch Youth baseball players in Countryside will have an improved ball field to play on in City Park next year. The city council at its Sept. 14 meeting unanimously approved paying Sportfields Inc., of Alsip, $29,800 to do the renovation work. Ald. Mark Benson (3rd) told the council the work “is long overdue…

Grace Hou, Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services, addressed the Countryside City Council on Sept. 14 about asylum seekers. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Countryside hosts 50 asylum seekers from Venezuela

By Steve Metsch The city of Countryside has warmly welcomed 50 refugees from Venezuela who are seeking asylum in the United States, officials said at the latest city council meeting. “These are individuals going through the process,” Mayor Sean McDermott said. “They are legally in the United States and they are seeking asylum, which a…

GSWNH_CondorsWinNeighborhoodBattle_092322

Condors prevail on gridiron

Members of the Curie High School girls’ flag football team share a moment of triumph, moments after they won neighborhood bragging rights over Solorio Academy with a 22-8 victory last week. The Condors were paced by game MVP Destiny Miranda and QB Lexi Urzula. – Supplied photo

dvn lyons logo

Lyons buys property near old quarry

By Steve Metsch The village of Lyons has agreed to pay $2,770,416 for approximately 8.56 acres just south of the former quarry on Ogden Avenue. “This is something we talked about at previous board meetings. It’s finally coming to fruition,” Mayor Christopher Getty said at the Aug. 16 village board meeting. Dubbed the Lyons South…

Members of Argo High School's Track Team pose for a picture with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle at Fall Fest. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

Lyons Township Democrats hold annual Fall Fest

By Carol McGowan The Democratic Park of Lyons Township held its annual Fall Fest last Saturday. The party took place outside of the Township Democratic Headquarters at 63rd Street and Archer Road in Summit. Lyons Township Supervisor Christopher Getty was happy with the turnout. “The event was an overwhelming success. We had approximately 300 people…

Screen Shot 2022-09-24 at 4.27.56 AM

City expands security-camera program

Free cams available for the poor From staff reports The City’s Community Safety Coordination Center (CSCC) has announced the launch of a new Income-Based Application that allows Chicagoans to obtain outdoor security devices, based on income. The expansion builds on what officials call the success of the Home and Business Protection Rebate Application, which helps…

Screen Shot 2022-09-19 at 3.32.50 PM

Is the pandemic over?

Not so fast, city Health Dept. seems to say From staff reports While both public health and political commentators assessed the accuracy of President Joe Biden’s recent proclamation that the pandemic is over, the Chicago Department of Public Health appears to be saying, not so fast. “The pandemic is over. We still have a problem…

Neighbors

DVN JCs Restoration House Ad
An American flag is draped in front of the McCook fire station during 9-11 ceremonies. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

McCook hosts celebration of heroes to honor sacrifices of September 11

By Carol McGowan Despite the drenching rain on Sunday, more than 200 people gathered for the annual Celebration of Heroes event at the McCook Fire Department to honor the people who died in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Five villages took part in Sunday’s event: McCook, Riverside, Forest View, Lyons, and Willow Springs.…

Bob Sprinkle (left) swears in Police Chief Garry McCarthy. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

McCarthy named permanent police chief in Willow Springs

By Carol McGowan Former Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy was sworn in last week as the new permanent police chief in Willow Springs. McCarthy, who has been serving as acting police chief since April, was sworn in by Bob Sprinkle, longtime resident and chairman of the Willow Springs Police Commission. He served as Chicago’s top…

justice sign

Justice raises $5,000 for holiday baskets

By Carol McGowan Justice Trustee Jeff Allen said the village raised almost $5 ,000 at the annual car show in August, which will go towards the annual holiday baskets and gift cards program for less fortunate residents. Allen said the car show brought in just over $4,919. Otherwise, it was business as usual at the…

Lanie Reilly, 6, a first-grader at Pleasantdale Elementary School, was Countryside mayor for a day on Sept. 14. She started the city council meeting with Mayor Sean McDermott. Her mother, Jessica, said Lanie “checked out the whole building.” Lanie says she wants to be mayor when she grows up. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Countryside to renovate baseball field at City Park

By Steve Metsch Youth baseball players in Countryside will have an improved ball field to play on in City Park next year. The city council at its Sept. 14 meeting unanimously approved paying Sportfields Inc., of Alsip, $29,800 to do the renovation work. Ald. Mark Benson (3rd) told the council the work “is long overdue…

Grace Hou, Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services, addressed the Countryside City Council on Sept. 14 about asylum seekers. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Countryside hosts 50 asylum seekers from Venezuela

By Steve Metsch The city of Countryside has warmly welcomed 50 refugees from Venezuela who are seeking asylum in the United States, officials said at the latest city council meeting. “These are individuals going through the process,” Mayor Sean McDermott said. “They are legally in the United States and they are seeking asylum, which a…

GSWNH_CondorsWinNeighborhoodBattle_092322

Condors prevail on gridiron

Members of the Curie High School girls’ flag football team share a moment of triumph, moments after they won neighborhood bragging rights over Solorio Academy with a 22-8 victory last week. The Condors were paced by game MVP Destiny Miranda and QB Lexi Urzula. – Supplied photo

dvn lyons logo

Lyons buys property near old quarry

By Steve Metsch The village of Lyons has agreed to pay $2,770,416 for approximately 8.56 acres just south of the former quarry on Ogden Avenue. “This is something we talked about at previous board meetings. It’s finally coming to fruition,” Mayor Christopher Getty said at the Aug. 16 village board meeting. Dubbed the Lyons South…

Members of Argo High School's Track Team pose for a picture with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle at Fall Fest. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

Lyons Township Democrats hold annual Fall Fest

By Carol McGowan The Democratic Park of Lyons Township held its annual Fall Fest last Saturday. The party took place outside of the Township Democratic Headquarters at 63rd Street and Archer Road in Summit. Lyons Township Supervisor Christopher Getty was happy with the turnout. “The event was an overwhelming success. We had approximately 300 people…

Screen Shot 2022-09-24 at 4.27.56 AM

City expands security-camera program

Free cams available for the poor From staff reports The City’s Community Safety Coordination Center (CSCC) has announced the launch of a new Income-Based Application that allows Chicagoans to obtain outdoor security devices, based on income. The expansion builds on what officials call the success of the Home and Business Protection Rebate Application, which helps…

Screen Shot 2022-09-19 at 3.32.50 PM

Is the pandemic over?

Not so fast, city Health Dept. seems to say From staff reports While both public health and political commentators assessed the accuracy of President Joe Biden’s recent proclamation that the pandemic is over, the Chicago Department of Public Health appears to be saying, not so fast. “The pandemic is over. We still have a problem…

DVN Getty Insurance House Ad
Regional CC Asphalt House Ad