McCarthy offers perspective on protecting the presidency

McCarthy presents historical perspective on protecting the presidency

Published: November 3, 2011.

Tim McCarthy, a Lewis University alumnus and current Chief of Police of Orland Park, presented a program "An Eyewitness to a Presidency" on Nov. 2 on the Lewis University Romeoville main campus to a standing room only audience.

McCarthy served as a United States Secret Service agent beginning in 1972 during Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H. Bush terms of office. During the Reagan presidency he was shot, along with the president, during the assassination attempt. After John Hinckley began to fire, McCarthy deliberately put himself in the line of fire to shield the President. McCarthy received the NCAA Award of Valor in 1982 in recognition of his bravery.

McCarthy spoke eloquently on the Office of the Presidency and of the training and education for Secret Service agents that goes into protecting the president. He said, “The Secret Service is charged with protecting the Office of the Presidency (not the person), so that in a moment of madness the course of history will not be changed.”

Extensive scenario training on possible assassination attempts is the key to knowing how to react in an emergency.

Having had the opportunity to work with multiple administrations, McCarthy said that from his perspective the more successful presidents surrounded themselves with good staffs. He cited accomplishments of each of the presidents, focusing specifically on some of the Reagan accomplishments in honor of the centennial. Reagan was able to turn the economy around with unemployment down to 5.5 percent, worked to begin the reduction of nuclear arms worldwide, was instrumental in Russia’s tearing down the Berlin wall, and directed Health and Human Services to begin research on a vaccine for AIDs.

His career included eight years assigned to the Presidential Protective Division in Washington D.C. and 14 years as a criminal investigator in Chicago. McCarthy was the Special Agent in Charge of the Secret Service Chicago Division from 1989 until his retirement in October 1993. McCarthy has served as Chief of the Orland Park Police Department since May 1994.

The event is part of the Reagan Centennial Series, marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ronald Wilson Reagan (1911-2004). The Lewis University History Center is hosting three events that examine the life and legacy of the 40th President of the United States. Entitled, "Reagan's Public Image: A Panel Discussion.” These events are also being presented as a part of Lewis University’s Arts & Ideas Program, providing cultural and educational programming for students and the community. A portion of the Arts & Ideas events is sponsored by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council. For additional information, please contact Dr. Michael Cunningham, director of Arts & Ideas, at (815) 836-5385.

Lewis University is a Catholic university offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to nearly 6,500 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally aware, and socially responsible graduates. The ninth largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.

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