Orland Police Department Deputy Chief Jerry Hughes recently said goodbye to coworkers and friends outside the village's police station. Hughes (center) is retiring after more than 32 years with the department. To Hughes' immediate left is Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin. | Mike Nolan~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 9, 2014 6:08AM
Although he’s retiring from the Orland Park police force, Jerry Hughes isn’t actually ready for retirement.
After more than 32 years with the department, including the past eight as deputy chief, Hughes said goodbye to co-workers during a recent ceremony at the police station. Two rows of squad cars, lights flashing, flanked Hughes as he walked up and exchanged hugs and handshakes with longtime friends.
He started as a patrol officer, and in 1987 became the village’s first DARE officer, at a time when the drug and alcohol education program was just gaining favor in schools. Hughes later became an investigator and also was a member of the department’s special response team for 20 years, ultimately becoming its commander. He was appointed deputy chief in 2005.
Hughes, 55, said that although he’s leaving the police department, he hopes to continue to work elsewhere, possibly remaining in the field of public safety.
“I’m not ready to stop working and golf all day,” he said. “It’s time to move on and seek new challenges.”
He said he and his wife, Jura, a fourth-grade teacher at Liberty Elementary School in Orland Park, are hopeful, depending on what his new job is, to remain in the village.
“It’s been a wonderful place,” Hughes said.
Police Chief Tim McCarthy said he has chosen a new deputy chief to succeed Hughes, but his choice hasn’t been announced yet.
McCarthy, who worked with Hughes for 20 years, described him as a “policeman’s policeman,” and that his departure “will be a big loss” for the department.