CHICAGO — The city's top cop says he isn't going anywhere and Chicago had better get used to him.
In a wide-ranging interview Thursday on WBEZ 91.5 FM's "Afternoon Shift," Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy called the decision to come to Chicago "the best move I've ever made in my life."
When host Rick Kogan asked him about the short tenure of Chicago's last Public Schools chief, McCarthy responded, "I look at Jean-Claude Brizard and say, 'Nice to know you,' but I'm gonna get this right." He suggested he couldn't understand how Brizard had lost the confidence of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "The opportunity to succeed here is overwhelming," he added.
"I love this city, I love the people," McCarthy said. "Fact is, you guys are stuck with me for a long time."
Mayor Emanuel has strongly endorsed the changes McCarthy has made and the results he's achieved, especially lately, as they've worked in harmony to argue to gun control, and without going in search of the dreaded "vote of confidence" no one has mentioned an end to McCarthy's tenure.
McCarthy cited the city's lowest overall crime rate in 30 years. While acknowledging that murders and shootings are up from previous years, he said command changes at several districts have slowed the murder rate of late and pointed to how there had been only one shooting reported in the Deering District since Joe Gorman was made commander there three weeks ago.
"Coincidence?" McCarthy said. "I don't think so.
"We've got the right butts in the seats right now," he added, and predicted "enormous gains" in lowering crime next year.
McCarthy said he talks every day with the mayor and they have a strong relationship. He told of them hitting it off from their first interview in April 2011. He met Emanuel at a hotel near O'Hare International Airport after a hastily arranged flight. "The first words the man ever said to me were, 'Dude, you're right out of central casting.'
"From there we just took it and it just rolled," McCarthy added. "What I love about working for the man is he doesn't tell me what to do." He said Emanuel trusted him do as he thinks best and produce results.
Born and raised in New York City, where he rose through the police ranks until being named Newark, N.J., police chief in 2006, McCarthy became Chicago's top cop in June 2011.
Kogan said afterward he was struck by McCarthy's candor, but not surprised. "I have always found Garry to be refreshingly frank," Kogan said. "There's no question about it, he's media-savvy. I don't think he misspeaks. I think he knows what he's saying. You don't see the wheels turning.
"He's a very secure guy," he added. "Did that surprise me he said that about Brizard? Not a bit."
McCarthy didn't just challenge criminals to run him out of town. He challenged the weather.
"I haven't seen a winter yet here in Chicago," he said. "I hear they're bad."