Retiring Rich Guidice opens up about tenure as head of Chicago's OEMC

When something big happens in Chicago, or something goes wrong, Rich Guidice is the man with a plan.

But now, the head of the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) is retiring. On Wednesday, Guidice talked about his tenure and what he has learned.

"The job never ends. It is a 24/7 job," he said.

After 18 years of 5 a.m. calls, Guidice will be retiring from city service next week. He's been the head of OEMC since 2019.

A lot has changed since Guidice joined the agency in 2005, especially technology. They now have access to more than 30,000 surveillance cameras across the city.

Those cameras play a key role in one of Guidice’s new initiatives, the Carjacking Task Force, which is located within the Operations Center.


"These guys are monitoring with the license plate readers and the technology vehicles that may have been stolen or carjacked across the city. And we're able to track them throughout the city," Guidice said.

OEMC handles both planned events, like Lollapalooza, parades and sports celebrations, but also the unplanned emergencies like the civil unrest surrounding the murder of George Floyd and the Covid pandemic.

Guidice says they continue to learn and evolve.

"We have now done exercises, drills. We have e-learning that we've developed in reference to civil unrest, how we would respond, how we would act," he said.

The key to success?

"You have to know who the key players are in the city. The people you can lean on, the people you can count on to get the job done," he said.

FOX 32 asked him if there is any new or evolving threat that most of us don't know about that's on the radar.

"Certainly cyber is something we've put a lot of attention in over the years," Guidice said.

Incoming Mayor Brandon Johnson will decide who becomes the next emergency czar, and Guidice advises the pick should come from inside the city.

"And I would recommend to anybody to search within before you start looking anywhere else. We have a lot of talent here in the City of Chicago. A lot of people who care," Guidice said.

While Guidice won't be calling the shots for next year's Democratic National Convention, he said he is "very excited for it. I think Chicago is definitely the right place for it. So a lot of excitement. I'll be helping in any way I possibly can."