McCook Mayor Terrance Carr watches as outgoing Police Chief pins the star on the jacket of new chief Jeremy Carr, the mayor’s younger brother. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

McCook Mayor Terrance Carr watches as outgoing Police Chief pins the star on the jacket of new chief Jeremy Carr, the mayor’s younger brother. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

McCook hires mayor’s brother as police chief

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By Steve Metsch 

McCook’s new police chief has a familiar last name.

Jeremy Carr is the younger brother of Mayor Terrance Carr.

His promotion from commander to chief, effective July 1, was unanimously approved by the village board on June 19.

Mayor Carr after the meeting was quick to say nepotism was not involved.

“He should not be punished because he has the same last name as me,” Carr said.

“He can do the job. He’s capable. He’s been here. All the police officer are behind him 100 percent. (People) can say what they want.”

Mayor Carr said retiring Police Chief Steve Svetich recommended two men for the job: Commander Jeremy Carr and Deputy Chief Dave DeLeshe.

“Dave is fire chief and deputy police chief. He wanted to keep both jobs.

“Dave turned it down. I wasn’t going outside (the department). Jeremy was third in charge. Dave wanted to stay where he was and it all worked out. No hard feelings,” Mayor Carr said.

Carr said that if DeLeshe wanted the job “we probably wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

He was not going to go outside to find his new police chief “because you don’t know what you’re going to get.

“You could get someone 10 times better or 10 times worse who causes problems. The morale is good. He was a commander here, (the officers) all said they like him. To be honest with you, you always want it to be between two guys,” Carr said.

The new police chief said “at the end of the day, my brother is my brother. But he is mayor of the village and I serve at the pleasure of the mayor and the board of trustees.”

Asked if being the mayor’s brother adds pressure to do the job well, Carr said, “I would think so.”

Carr considers being named chief “an honor and a privilege.”

“I’ve worked in law enforcement for 18 years and I am blessed to have been nominated. The support I’ve received from the officers is overwhelming,” he said.

Prior to joining the McCook Police Department eight years ago, he worked as a part-time officer in Willow Springs.

He then was a part-time officer for the Memorial Park District, which serves Melrose Park and Bellwood.

Carr feels he is qualified to become chief because he’s served in several supervisor roles over the years, and has taken supervisor classes. He was a sergeant prior to being named commander.

One challenge Carr faces is that McCook’s population explodes each working day.

The village has just 280 residents, but that that population skyrockets to 10,000 when one considers all the people working at the many industrial and commercial businesses in McCook, Mayor Carr said.

A new business development near the intersection of East Avenue and 55th Street is expected to bring 3,000 more workers to McCook each day, he said.

“Public safety is the No. 1 concern,” the new chief said.

“The more the merrier with training. Also, we have to continue to give the guys and gals the equipment so they can do their jobs to the best of their ability,” he added.

The police department has “proactive patrols” of the many businesses in McCook.

“Officers are out at night, making sure gates are secured to try to deter (thieves). Residents are always made aware to keep their doors locked, their vehicle doors locked in case someone with bad intentions comes through town,” Carr said.

Svetich thinks Carr has what it takes to succeed.

“He’s a good guy. The officers seem to like him. He’s friendly, professional. The police department is in good hands,” said Svetich, whose last day as chief will be June 30.

Having worked with Svetich was very beneficial, Carr said.

“I look at him as a mentor and he taught me to be a mentor to others,” Carr said. “He’s a wealth of knowledge.”

Chief Carr is married. He and his wife have a 5-year-old daughter.

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