Orland Park Police Deputy Chief Jerry Hughes was described as a “policeman’s policeman” by his chief.
“He was my deputy chief for 8 ½ years and he handled all aspects of the job flawlessly,” said Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy. “There’s so much that could be said about him and what all he accomplished.”
Hughes was the department’s point person for school safety issues, oversaw aspects of building the Orland Park Police Department’s current facility and led a series of Internet video roundtables focusing on rising heroin use throughout the south suburbs. According to McCarthy, those comprise just a short list of Hughes’ achievements with the department.
Hughes went on his last ride Wednesday afternoon, ending with a large greeting at the police station where dozens of friends, family, officers, village officials and colleagues came to wish him well in retirement. Hughes was greeted with handshakes, hugs, tears and smiles.
Flanked by squad cars with emergency lights lit, and a large American flag hanging from an Orland Fire Protection District engine, Hughes described the whole event as “overwhelming and humbling.”
“It’s been a great 32-and-a-half years here,” Hughes said. “I deeply appreciate all the opportunities I was afforded here. It’s been a wonderful place to live, work and raise my family.”
Hughes said he is not planning on staying idle. He is applying to different entities where he can use his knowledge of public safety, education and other skills learned during his career.
“I’ll be back out in the workforce soon,” he said.
McCarthy said a new deputy chief has been selected from within the department, and will be announced later in December.