Former police chief Tim McCarthy hugs Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau during the dedication ceremony naming the police station after McCarthy. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Former police chief Tim McCarthy hugs Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau during the dedication ceremony naming the police station after McCarthy. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Orland Park police station named in McCarthy’s honor

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REGIONAL ROYALTY

Here is some Regional News-area civic royalty at the Tim McCarthy dedication. From left is Palos Park Village Manager Rick Boehm, Palos Heights Mayor Bob Straz, McCarthy, former Palos Park Mayor John Mahoney, Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau and Palos Park Mayor Nicole Milovich-Walters.

By Jeff Vorva

Tim McCarthy will always be a part of American history for taking a bullet for President Ronald Reagan in 1981 as a member of the Secret Service.

Less known to the rest of the nation was his service to Orland Park as police chief for 26 years.

On Oct. 23, he was honored by having the police station at 15100 S. Ravinia Ave. named after him.  The village board unanimously approved the naming at the June 5 meeting.

“I have to thank you for naming this the Timothy J. McCarthy building before I was dead,” he joked to a crowd of hundreds who came to watch the dedication. “I did come by yesterday … before the Bears game and took a peek at it and so I had a chance to see it before the unveiling and it’s absolutely beautiful.

“But my name on this building has really more to do with the hard work of the police officers of the Orland Park Police Department. To the community service officers of the department, the 911 operators who are their critical link between the public and our officers. It’s all of them put together that makes this the police department that it is. Really, my name may be out there but it’s because of them that it is on there.”

SIGN

A sign bearing Tim McCarthy’s name was unveiled on Oct. 23.

McCarthy, 74, assumed the role of chief in Orland Park in May 1994, following an illustrious career with the U.S. Secret Service. His background includes eight years assigned to the Presidential Protective Division in Washington, D.C., and 14 years as a criminal investigator in Chicago.

He has lived in Homer Glen (with an Orland Park address), the Beverly neighborhood in Chicago and back to Orland Park.

“Chief McCarthy diligently served the village for 26 years,” Mayor Keith Pekau said. “His hard work and dedication elevated the Orland Park Police Department to the top-rated law enforcement agency in the state. It is an honor and a privilege to be able to recognize his efforts with the naming of the police department building.”

“Chief McCarthy consistently prioritized the safety and well-being of Orland Park’s residents,” added current chief Eric Rossi. “His visionary leadership led to the transformation of our police force through the implementation of new training programs, cutting-edge technology, and an exceptional staff. These efforts have positioned us as the finest police force in Illinois.”

On McCarthy’s watch, the nation’s first LEED Gold certified police station was successfully constructed. He was the project manager on the building which now bears his name.

He actively lobbied on law enforcement issues, championed school safety and security, automated the Orland Park Police Department, implemented numerous community policing initiatives, and introduced the use of NARCAN to save lives during heroin overdoses.

In 2017, under McCarthy’s leadership, the department became the first agency internationally to complete the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s One Mind Campaign Pledge, enhancing the interaction between law enforcement and individuals affected by mental illness.

When he was named chief, he was not planning on a long stay.

“The average career for a chief of police is five-to-seven years,” he said. “I had no idea it would be 26 years. But it was great. Absolutely great.”

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