Timothy J. "Tim" McCarthy (born June 20, 1949) is the current Chief of Police of Orland Park, Illinois and a former member of the United States Secret Service. He is best known for defending President Ronald Reagan during the assassination attempt by John Hinckley Jr..
Since July 2016, he has served as the acting city manager of Orland Park during the city's nationwide recruiting search for a new city manager.
McCarthy was born June 20, 1949, and was raised in Chicago’s Ashburn neighborhood. He graduated from St. Denis Grammar School and Leo Catholic High School. He then attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He joined the Fightin Illini football team as a walk on his freshman year. He earned a football scholarship for his sophomore and played as strong safety his junior years before an injury ended his college career. While there, he was a member of Delta Tau Delta. He graduated in 1971 with a bachelor of science in finance and joined the United States Secret Service shortly thereafter.
Law enforcement career
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.
Reagan assassination attempt
When Hinckley opened fire, McCarthy put himself in the line of fire and spread his body in front of Reagan to make himself a target. He was struck in the abdomen by Hinckley's fourth bullet. While all Secret Service agents are trained to take bullets for the president, only four have actually done so. Besides McCarthy, officer Leslie Coffelt of the White House Police Force was killed and officers Donald Birdzell and Joseph Downs were wounded in the 1950 Truman assassination attempt.
Post-Secret Service career
McCarthy has served as chief of the Orland Park Police Department since May 1994.
In 1997, he ran for the Democratic nomination for Illinois Secretary of State against Jesse White of Chicago, then the Recorder of Deeds for Cook County, and State Senator Penny Severns of Decatur. Severns was removed from the ballot after failing to meet the signature requirement. McCarthy ran an outsider campaign that took a law-enforcement approach to the Secretary of State’s office including standardized DUI tests and easier to read license plates. White won the primary election with 55% of the vote to McCarthy’s 45% of the vote, or a margin of 100,195 votes.
In 1999, he earned a Master of Science degree in criminal/social justice from Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois.
In March 2016, he was awarded the first annual Chief of Police of the Year award by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police. The award cited his legislative advocacy, supervision of the building of the country’s first police station to receive a LEED Gold certification, working to establish the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force, promoting crisis intervention training for officers and the use of NARCAN to prevent heroin overdoses. In July 2016, he has served as the acting city manager of Orland Park. He will retain this role under a permanent city manager is found in a nationwide recruiting search.
He is married and has three children.