City Council approves McCarthy as Chicago top cop

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The City Council on Wednesday confirmed Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s pick to lead the Chicago Police Department, but Garry McCarthy faces some daunting tasks such as dealing with attacks by groups of teens in the downtown shopping district as the summer tourist s

CHICAGO (AP) — The City Council on Wednesday confirmed Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s pick to lead the Chicago Police Department, but Garry McCarthy faces some daunting tasks such as dealing with attacks by groups of teens in the downtown shopping district as the summer tourist season heats up. "We have to immediately put a stop to this because it’s giving our city a real bad name but I know he’s capable, he’ll do it," said Alderman Ray Suarez. Emanuel picked McCarthy to replace former Superintendent Jody Weis, an FBI agent who was appointed by former Mayor Richard Daley and left when his three-year contract expired earlier this year. After the meeting, McCarthy told reporters that police had beefed up their plan for dealing with the marauding groups of young people over the weekend that resulted in 29 arrests for criminal mischief, trespassing, theft and robbery. He said patrol officers, the gang unit, detectives and undercover officers were working to keep the situation under control. That includes paying close attention to groups of young people at "choke points" where people enter the downtown area, such as at transportation hubs. "There is a plan in place," said McCarthy, who will be paid $260,000 in his new job. The incidents have gotten attention in the local media because they are happening in some of the city’s well-to-do, high-profile areas that are often frequented by tourists. But McCarthy acknowledged these "multiple offender incidents" are nothing new and "have been happening probably since the cavemen days when somebody, you know, got a group together and took somebody else’s property." The recent downtown episodes are a baptism by fire for McCarthy, who rose through the ranks in New York’s police department and then became the top cop in Newark, N.J. He’ll have a whole host of other issues to deal with from reducing violence in the city and increasing manpower in his department to boosting morale because rank-and-file officers often complained Weis didn’t stand behind him. Alderman Emma Mitts was quick to invite McCarthy to an anti-violence march in her northwest side ward in an area where there is gang activity. "I want you to hit the ground running," Mitts said. McCarthy has been on the job as the city’s acting superintendent since Emanuel was sworn in last month because the new mayor said he wanted someone in place before the summer, a time when Chicago has seen outbreaks of violence. Emanuel said McCarthy’s focus extends beyond downtown to every neighborhood in the city. "Our job is to keep all communities, regardless of where they are, safe," Emanuel said. As far as downtown, McCarthy said police will focus on groups of young people, probably five or more, that act like they’re out to get into trouble. "They’re going to be loud, they’re going to be perhaps taunting people and stuff like that. So it’s the behaviors, it’s not the individuals and it’s large groups of kids," he said. McCarthy strongly rejected any suggestion that their surveillance would involve racial profiling. "We will not, in any way shape or form, allow a member of the Chicago Police Department to engage in racial profiling," he said. Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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