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Garry McCarthy already on the job as Chicago’s acting top cop

New police Superintendent Garry McCarthy Monday May 2 2011. | Jean Lachat~Sun-Times

New police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, Monday, May 2, 2011. | Jean Lachat~Sun-Times

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Updated: August 30, 2011 12:16AM

Garry McCarthy made a beeline to Chicago Police headquarters after his boss Rahm Emanuel was sworn into office Monday morning as Chicago’s 46th mayor.

McCarthy, the former Newark Police director, assumed the role of Chicago’s acting top cop as he awaits City Council approval to officially become the next police superintendent.

McCarthy said he met with the department’s two assistant superintendents and other police brass. He said he was impressed with “a couple” of the officials but will have to “get a better feel” for others.

Last week, Massachusetts consultant Robert Wasserman visited Chicago on McCarthy’s invitation to create a list of information McCarthy should ask the department to collect —including priorities for his first 30 days.

Wasserman, former chief of staff of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, has previously advised McCarthy’s mentor, William Bratton, who was chief of the New York and Los Angeles police departments.

Wasserman is known as a behind-the-scenes architect of police department reorganizations, but McCarthy said he won’t be involved in long-term strategy. He was simply doing McCarthy a favor — for free — because of their longtime friendship, McCarthy said.

“He’s got his homework tonight,” Wasserman said as he headed out of town. “He’s got a very fast timeline of things to do ... [but] he does understand the challenges of policing in an urban environment.”

Asked how quickly he’ll put 1,000 more cops on the street — as Emanuel has promised — McCarthy said: “It’s going to be fast.” He noted there’s a need for special police units, but he’ll look at whether there’s “overspecialization” that’s leaving beat patrols short-staffed.

McCarthy, once the head of police strategy in New York City, said he won’t make wholesale changes to his leadership team until “I figure out who’s who and what’s what.”

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