Archive for February, 2017


125 of Chicago’s (newest) Bravest…

On Wednesday, 15 February 2017 members of the Chicago Police pipe band stood side by side with our brothers and sisters of the Chicago Fire pipe band to recognize nearly 125 new firefighters joining their ranks as Chicago’s Bravest. We are privileged to be a part of their pride, honor and tradition. 

CHICAGO (WLS) —  The mayor and Chicago Fire Department (CFD) commissioner recognized nearly 125 newly recruited firefighters and paramedics on Wednesday.   Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CFD commissioner Jose Santiago recognized the new graduates of the Fire Academy during a ceremony Wednesday evening at Navy Pier.

The graduating class included 29 former or current members of the U.S. Military, 10 former police officers, 11 former CFD medics and two family members of those who lost their life during service as police officers or firefighters.  The graduates completed a six-month training course that included courses for certification as an EMT and Illinois firefighter.

These men and women will continue the strong tradition of Chicago having the best equipped and trained members who are ready to serve every neighborhood to save life and property,” Santiago said in a press release.   ABC 7 Chicago’s Tanja Babich and Terrell Brown were the emcees for the evening.

The CFD and ABC 7 Chicago have partnered for the past 14 years on Operation Save A Life to promote carbon monoxide safety and prevention.


a “calling” and not just a job…

Sharing from Uniform Stories Staff  —  Cops are unique. Yes, there are occupations that may face similar stresses (military, firefighting, ems first responders), but the job of a police officer stands unique in its own right.  The best men and women who take on the vocation of being a police officer understand that it truly is a “calling” and not just a job. A good cop must be committed to the profession in a way that transcends the notion of punching a clock and getting a paycheck.

Baltimore police officer looking into the distance (Photo/Pixabay)

These same men and women will find in a matter of years, however, that the job will change them. It will change their outlook on the world, their interactions with others and in some cases their very ability to deal with others who are not in law enforcement. They will find that once close relationships with friends and family may fade. Sometimes, that’s a natural thing and other times there is simply a lack of understanding of what stresses a cop endures in their day-to-day routines.

Here are 5 stresses that cops deal with that non-cops might not realize:

  1. Daily preparation for battle
    People die every day. Accidents happen every day. In rare instances, tragedy unexpectedly takes the lives of thousands. However, most occupations generally assume they will go to work and come home at the end of the day.

Being a police officer requires preparation for death, daily. Officers put on bullet proof vests and carry guns for a reason: they are ready for the fight, and unfortunately not every warrior comes home. In the last 5 years, a police officer has been killed, in the line of duty, every 2-3 days. That is 727 lives lost. Cops are at war out there.

  1. The cop attitude stays
    Many police officers aren’t warned about the change that will take place in them from the job. The “cop attitude” cannot be left at the office, either. The incidents cops experience will change them on duty and off duty. They will not sit with their backs to doors or people; they will often not carry on a conversation by looking someone in the eye because they are looking at every person coming and going. They are running a hundred scenarios of what could go potentially wrong wherever they are.
  2. Life in a fishbowl
    Cops are held to a higher standard. And, the oath taken by officers isn’t limited to when they are wearing a uniform. Most departments have a standard of conduct that governs even off duty behavior. Violations of that standard can result in disciplinary action.

There are constant eyes on LEOs and it is often difficult to find ways to de-stress and to blow off steam as a cop. Officers are constantly aware of scrutiny waiting around every corner, yet must boldly continue to go places no one else is willing to go and do things no one else is willing to do.

As the famous quote goes, “People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

  1. Front row seat to despair 
    It is very rare for people to call the police when everything is going well. Instead, the police arrive when dad hits mom, when mom burns her child with a cigarette, when a brother or friend has been found dead with heroin needles in their arms, when a rollover accident has taken the life of a young family, someone’s privacy has been violated in a burglary or robbery, or when someone has been the victim of a scam – and the list goes on.

Seeing these things day in and day out will take a toll on any officer. Often people wonder why an officer seemed angry when they saw them, or perhaps didn’t smile and wave. Well, perhaps that officer has just returned from doing CPR a newborn and now is taking a report on damage to someone’s property.

It’s not that the officer is cold or don’t care; it’s just that people don’t often see what that officer sees or do what that officer does.

To be fair, police officers need to consider the same for all those we are dealing with. People call the police when they are in need and under stress. So, not everyone hates the police even though they may just seem that way, we too, haven’t been through what they’ve been through.

  1.  Riding the incident rollercoaster
    At any point in the tour of duty, an officer can move from trying to eat lunch to driving at high speed, running after a suspect, pointing a firearm at someone and finding themselves in a life or death decision. Maybe an officer went from a parking complaint to a child hit by a car back, then back to someone getting a ticket for shoplifting. You get the idea.

These roller coaster scenarios can affect an officer both emotionally and physically. Cops should take note and find healthy ways to keep themselves balanced.

If you see a cop friend, or loved one, behaving a little distant, there is a reason why. If you are a cop struggling with these stresses, remember your friends who are not in this field may not understand.

Communicate openly with those who are trying to help, seek to understand each other. If you are truly struggling and having a hard time overcoming the stresses of the job, please speak up to a trusted brother or sister in blue, or find another qualified resource for help.

About the author

Uniform Stories features a variety of contributors. These sources are experts and educators within their profession. Uniform Stories covers an array of subjects like field stories, entertaining anecdotes, and expert opinions.


you’re not alone…

In our world, like our firefighter comrades we are tasked with “extinguishing” the world’s problems when in reality we have trouble “extinguishing” our own.  As cops, we are meant to go after the problem and not stop till we resolve it.

This mentality, this drive, and this discipline can cause us great heartache when we come upon a problem we cannot solve on our own. We feel helpless & ashamed as if we have failed.  But wait…when others are in need what do they do? They call 911!

A new report finds that the Chicago Police Department has a suicide rate 60 percent higher than the national average.  The study found that of the 10,000 officer force up to three CPD officers per year commit suicide, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The CPD’s suicide rate corresponds with the extreme level of violence seen in the Windy City. Last year Chicago’s murder rate was higher than that of New York and Los Angeles combined.

“There is a problem, and nobody’s doing anything about it,” Ron Rufo, a peer support counselor, told the paper. “Supervisors don’t talk about it. The rank-and-file don’t talk about it. And it’s like the administration does not want to admit it’s a problem.”

Read the story @…/suicides-chicago-police-office…/…

When cops are in need who do they call? A 10-1*.  As a police culture, we are often afraid or ashamed to call a personal 10-1. If you have ever been left alone, felt trapped, or there is no way out; we are here for you – we won’t miss your call.

Don’t be afraid of calling the personal 10-1. Our pride should not keep us from getting killed (literally or spiritually). It is our dependence on the one who will never leave us that will make us stronger.

You’re not alone…

P.O.L.I.C.E. Suicide Foundation: 866.276.4615
Employee Assistance Program
Chicago Police Professional Counseling 24/7


*10-1 is a police radio code for OFFICER NEEDS HELP



Superintendent (RET) Joseph DiLeonardi at rest…

On 02 February 2017 – the band participated in the honors funeral services for retired Chicago Police Department Superintendent Joseph DiLeonardi.  From the Chicago Tribune:

DiLeonardi was known for honesty and integrity as well as a great deal of panache in his 44-year career in Chicago law enforcement.

Known as “Joe D,” DiLeonardi was Chicago’s acting police superintendent for a time under Mayor Jane Byrne and later served as the U.S. marshal for the federal court in Chicago. For many years he was the colorful commander of the citywide homicide unit.

Joe was terrific,” said retired police Sgt. Jimmy Georgalas, 94, who worked with DiLeonardi in the homicide unit. “He was very well respected and just an honest guy.”

DiLeonardi, 84, died of congestive heart failure Sunday at his home, said his wife of more than 50 years, Carol. He was a resident of Park Ridge for about 20 years after living many decades in the city.

Born in Chicago, DiLeonardi grew up in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood on the Northwest Side and graduated from Steinmetz High School. After attending Wright Junior College for a semester, DiLeonardi served stateside in the Army during the Korean War.

He returned to Wright and later attended classes at the University of Illinois’ Navy Pier campus before earning an undergraduate degree from Chicago State University.

DiLeonardi joined the Chicago Police Department in 1955, part of a graduating class that included future Chicago police Superintendent LeRoy Martin. In 1958, DiLeonardi became an investigator, then rose through the ranks, becoming head of North Side gang crimes before being tapped to oversee the department’s entire gang crime unit in 1974.

Several months later, DiLeonardi was named the city’s new homicide commander. By the late 1970s, DiLeonardi was promoted to become deputy superintendent in charge of the bureau of investigative services, overseeing all detectives, the youth division and the crime laboratory.

The number of homicides in that era was significantly higher than it is now. In 1978, the city’s homicide toll dipped below 800 — the lowest total then in six years. “One factor is the large number of firearms that police have taken off the street,” DiLeonardi told the Tribune in 1979.

DiLeonardi spent the largest chunk of his career — 21 years — in the homicide unit, and he once compared his work to the familiarity that a golf pro has with the many courses he has played.

“A good homicide detective remembers murder case details like the pro remembers every golf course hole and fairway he’s ever played,” he told the Tribune in 1991. “For me, there is no greater satisfaction than solving a murder.”

DiLeonardi often said one of his proudest cases was his work in the murder of Peter Saisi in 1958. Over the objections of his superiors, DiLeonardi worked to prove that a prime suspect was not the killer. That paved the way for the convictions of Saisi’s wife and her lover.

In 1979, then-Mayor Jane Byrne named DiLeonardi acting superintendent of police. DiLeonardi quickly began making changes to the department, some of which infuriated Byrne. The mayor also was reported to be frustrated with DiLeonardi’s ability to grab headlines.

DiLeonardi was acting superintendent during Pope John Paul II’s visit to Chicago in October 1979. Other achievements he was proud of during his tenure as acting superintendent included promoting minorities into high levels within the Police Department and working to cleanse the department of political interference from the mob-plagued 1st Ward.

After just five months in the job, DiLeonardi asked not to be considered for the top job on a permanent basis. While DiLeonardi initially stated that the decision was rooted in family reasons, in April 1980, he told the Tribune that two of Byrne’s top aides demanded the ouster of the department’s most prominent fighter of organized crime, and blamed influence from the mobbed-up 1st Ward organization. DiLeonardi’s successor, Richard Brzeczek, denied the allegations.

DiLeonardi became deputy superintendent overseeing the Bureau of Investigative Services. Brzeczek soon demoted him to watch commander and then reassigned him to serve as commanding office of the police detail at O’Hare International Airport.

Brzeczek then demoted DiLeonardi further in 1981 to be a midnight shift watch commander in a high-crime district on the West Side. By 1985, DiLeonardi’s career was revived when a subsequent police superintendent, Fred Rice, named him commander of the Belmont District on the North Side.

In 1987, he was promoted to assistant deputy superintendent, and the following year he became deputy superintendent for the Bureau of Community Services.

After retiring from the force in 1991, DiLeonardi worked for several years as the top investigator for Cook County Sheriff Michael Sheahan. He then was chosen by President Bill Clinton to be the U.S. marshal for the Northern District of Illinois, serving from 1994 until 1999.

DiLeonardi was said to be the inspiration for “Kojak,” the nattily attired TV detective played by Telly Savalas. DiLeonardi once dismissed any comparisons between TV’s depiction of detectives and the actual work.

“There are no heroes like you see up there on TV,” DiLeonardi told the Tribune in 1980. “What you don’t see on TV are the frustrations, the overtime that a homicide detective puts in and what it does to his family life. Television doesn’t show the horror of what happens to the victims and the compassion that the detective has to give to the family. It doesn’t show the hours of paperwork. But that’s what real police work is all about.”

DiLeonardi also was a frequent foe of the National Rifle Association. In 1988, he criticized the group for producing a coloring book designed to promote gun safety to elementary schoolchildren, calling it “appalling and sickening.”

An avid runner, DiLeonardi completed 34 marathons in his life, the last one at the age of 75, his wife said.

DiLeonardi is also survived by a son, Joseph Jr.; two grandchildren; two brothers, Arthur and George; and two sisters, Gloria Malnak and Joyce Cox-Cunningham.

A visitation will be held from 3 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Cumberland Chapels, 8300 W. Lawrence Ave. in Norridge and from 9 to 10 a.m. Thursday at Holy Name Cathedral, 735 N. State St. in Chicago. A funeral Mass will follow.