Archive for the ‘Band Top Story’ Category


what we selflessly do for others…

On Sunday 06 August 2017 the 100 Club of Chicago honored the families of police officers, firefighters and other first responders with a Family Day at the Brookfield Zoo.  The 100 Club of Chicago provides for the families of first responders who have lost their lives in the line of duty. This membership based organization offers several forms of financial assistance, access to resources and moral support. All sworn federal, state, county and local first responders stationed in Cook and Lake Counties are included.

Our band was honored to participate in this event alongside our comrades — Chicago’s bravestthe Chicago Fire Department Pipes & Drums.

This was one of several events band members participated in this weekend — which included a retirement party for one of our found members (Tom Cunningham).

Recapping the weekend, our Drum Sergeant (P.O. Joe Gallardo) had this to say:

This weekend I was blessed and honored to play a few events for fellow LEOs: P.O Tommy C, P.O Richard Clark, and Deputy Superintendent Jeanne Clark.   Using our talents in service to others is rewarding and it is a large part of our band’s mission.  Stay the course and stay on top of your instrument. What we selflessly do for others goes a long way.



Golf outing and fundraiser…

Most everyone is familiar with the distinctive sound of bagpipes-whether during a parade, a funeral, or other special event, but did you ever wonder what these band are about?

The Pipes and Drums of the Chicago Police Department is a not-for-profit 501(C)(3) recognized organization.  Founded in 1999, the Pipes and Drums of the Chicago Police Department (PDCPD) is bagpipe and drum band with one mission – to Honor our Fallen. We are a group that’s dedicated to providing services to our comrades, and their friends and families, in their time of need. We have had the privilege of participating in honor ceremonies for the city’s fallen heroes, and of police officers and firefighters across the Midwest.

Most of the expenses incurred by the band for travel, uniforms, and equipment are paid out-of- pocket by each member. Additionally, members of the band practice and perform on their own time. Band membership is voluntary, it is comprised of only active and retired sworn Chicago Police Department members. Most practices and performances are done on the member’s free time.

When called to perform for line of duty deaths it is our profound honor and solemn duty to perform at no cost to the department or the family of the fallen hero. We are entirely self-funded, and as such, must hold fundraisers to help cover our expenses. The band provides some items to its members, but members still must purchase most of their own equipment and instruments as well as custom made items such as kilts, hose (socks) and uniform shirts. Members must also provide their own travel expenses for any out of town events. These expenses can be substantial, which is why we are asking for your help.  Since we are a 501(C)(3) organization, any donation made to our organization is tax deductible (Federal EIN: 36-4291914).

On SUNDAY, September 10, 2017 we are hosting a golf outing at Stony Creek Golf Course | 5850 W. 103rd Street | Oak Lawn, IL 60453.  We would like you to consider donating to this event. Anything would be greatly appreciated, whether it’s a donation that we could raffle off or a hole sponsor. Hole sponsor is $100.

Click here to download the sponsorship form.

The cost is $125 per golfer and $500 for a foursome.
Purchase from PayPal link below or send payment to:
CPD Pipe Band @ P.O. Box 557542 Chicago, Il 60655

How many Golfers


The Names…

Every time I go to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial wall I am struck by the power of a name.

My first impression when I visit the wall is the immensity of it, and the vast number of names written upon it; how will I ever find my friends? Thankfully, there is a handy reference book that tells you where each name is located. So you go to the book, open it, and look up your agency; and suddenly you’re confronted by names you weren’t thinking about at all, and they are instantly thrust into your consciousness.

McNeff, man you flew in that terrible storm to help in that medical emergency. Thank you for trying.

Gabrielli, my Vietnam War veteran poet friend, your tragic verse on the sorrow of battle still haunts me. You were killed at a stupid accident scene as your lovely new wife was riding along; such sadness in a hero’s life.

Who’s this? Oh yeah, Garcia! Fun-loving, hardworking cadet in the academy, your intelligence and wit would have carried you far; you would have been a good sergeant. But you were killed when your Mustang flipped. I still see you laughing at one of your own jokes during my DT class; I couldn’t be mad because you were so damned funny.

Skip? Yes, yes, I remember the day I got the call you had been killed in a fiery crash. You were so strong and dynamic; we had that fun argument when you taught us traffic code in the academy. I smile, a relief for a second from the sorrow.

Speaking of the academy, there is Blazer: sharp kid, made sergeant right away (I knew he would); great work ethic and keen mind; killed with Dave that terrible night. I remember that call, too, fresh as yesterday; two friends killed in a tragic instant.

Oh man; I look away from this book for a second. My eyes need to clear, my heart needs to slow. My daughter is watching me; I act as if the wind is bothering my vision. I look back at the book; oh so many names. So many more from just my agency, and the book is so damned thick, so full of lives lost in our service.

I get refocused and, with my wife, the Sarge—who has a list of her own names to find—take our daughter from location to location to allow her to get tracings of the names. I’m so glad I didn’t do this alone.

As my daughter creates art from a friend’s name, I look around at the wall and admire its power and meaning. So many names of so many heroes, a concrete manifestation of the cost of a civil society, the price of freedom, and a powerful message to those who serve and protect: they will not be forgotten should they fall.

And while my sadness aches, I am strengthened by the memories. I think to myself, This is why we make such a monument: to heal us, to strengthen us, to remind us that freedom is only as strong as the individuals willing to fight for it.

It is right and fitting that the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall memorializes a great panel of individuals who have shed their blood, and given up their dreams and futures, for all of us. A free society owes it to such heroes that we regularly reflect on their lives and deaths: men and women of courage, and love, and sorrow, and friends and family, people just like us, who have made the extraordinary sacrifice of their own lives for their communities.

While I no longer put on a badge and gun, and my service is limited to writing and teaching, I still have dreams at night of driving fast and serving warrants; and in those dreams my friends and I are young and agile again. Sometimes my unconscious mind brings back those who are long gone, or places friends in the wrong agency; dreams are what they are, but I think trips to places like the Wall prevent a lot of them from being nightmares.

Names remind us, sadden us, inspire us, make us laugh and make us cry, and most of all, make us remember.

It has been a couple of years since I went to the Wall, and I think this year I will go again and walk up to that book, open it, and thank God that such men and women have lived and served.

I pray that we never forget their names.

May 4, 2016 | by Dave Smith

Dave Smith is an internationally recognized law enforcement trainer and is the creator of “JD Buck Savage.” You can follow Buck on Twitter at @thebucksavage.


“Officer Joseph P. Cali” post office…

On 23 April 2017 band members were honored to participate in the dedication ceremony of the Norwood Park Post Office as “Officer Joseph P. Cali” post office.  Here are some words from Chicago’s 41st Ward Alderman — Anthony Napolitano who helped make this happen – visit the Alderman’s Facebook page for photos and other media here.

Two years ago we honored slain officer Joseph P. Cali with an honorary Street dedication. We wanted to do more for our 41st ward resident, police officer, first responder, father, husband, friend and veteran. Today, along side the Cali family, we have come full circle with the naming of Norwood Park Post office at 6300 N. Northwest Highway the “Officer Joseph P. Cali” post office.

Thank you to everyone that made today possible and for getting this submitted into congress for us. Congressman Michael Quigley and Mary Ann Levar, Michael P McAuliffe, Michael Byrne, Chicago Postmaster Tangela L. Bush.

Thank you to Alderman Nicholas Sposato and the hundreds of 41st Residents that helped celebrate Officer Cali’s coming home. Thank you to Mike Jettner Revel Bar Chicago for hosting an after party celebration. A big thank you to David Dis for all his help and organizing donations today for Brotherhood for the Fallen. A special heartfelt thank you to the entire Cali family.

Honorable representation by Chicago Police color guard, Chicago Police pipes and drums, Chicago Police Department Commander William Looney and the 016th district officers, Chicago Fire Department Battalion 11, Engine 119, Truck 55, Ambulance 39, the scores of military veterans, Blue Knights Illinois XI ” Chicago ” L.E.M.C. Ride With Pride, Brotherhood for the Fallen

Every time you visit the library, remember Joseph Cali and share his story. Thank him for his service. Remember our hero and the ultimate sacrifice he made.

“When I start my tour of duty, Lord, wherever crime may be, as I walk the darken streets alone, let me be close to Thee”

United States Postal Service (ISC), United States Army, Norwood Park Chamber, Edison Park Chamber of Commerce, Edgebrook Chamber, Nadig Newspapers, DNAinfo Chicago, Fraternal Order of Police: Chicago Lodge No. 7, Chicago Fire Department Firefighters Union – Local 2


Honor Flight 12 April 2017

Band members are privileged to be a small part of HONOR FLIGHT CHICAGO as part of the “homecoming” festivities at Midway Airport.  We provide the skirl of the pipes and warbeat of the drums side by side with our comrades from the the Chicago Fire Department Pipes & Drums and the Fire Fighter’s Highland Guard of Naperville.   The Honor Flight mission is to transport America’s Veterans to Washington, DC to visit those memorials dedicated to honor the service and sacrifices of themselves and their friends.

Honor Flight Chicago is dedicated to honoring Chicagoland’s WWII and Korean War veterans by flying them, all- expense-paid, to Washington DC for the day to reflect at their memorials. WWII veterans have been given top priority because their memorial was opened May 2004, by which time many of them were not physically or financially able to travel to Washington on their own. This is our way of saying thank you for all that these men and women sacrificed for our country and for us. When we have flown all of our WWII and Korean War veterans to Washington DC, we will begin honoring our Vietnam veterans. 

Donations to help make these trips for veterans possible are gratefully accepted on their website at or can be mailed to their office at: 938 West Montana, Chicago, IL 60614


Was I a good cop?

To those not retired, you will get there someday. To the others, I just had to pass this on.  Pass this on to any other retiree you know that I may have skipped over.  I think we can all relate in one way or another to this ….. Especially the last paragraph!

Thoughts from a cop who retired in ’91. Just before retiring, some young puppy was busting my chops about how law enforcement has changed, and the system is improving for the best I just smiled and gave him a little laugh.

He asked what was so funny. I told him that I felt sorry for him. When asked why, I told him, “Because in about 15 years, THIS is going to be your good old days.”

We all saw the change in our jobs. I came on in 1966. I used to tell the rookies that our academy lasted 3 months. They gave us a stick, a gun, a dime, and kicked us out into the street. They told us: If you need help, use the dime. If you can’t get to a phone, use the stick. If using the stick pisses him off, use the gun.

And the first order we received when we were assigned to a district was from our sergeant. His order was “Don’t you EVER bother me, kid.”

Law enforcement then, was much different than the current mission We delivered babies, got rough in the alley when we needed to, made “Solomon-like” decisions at least once a tour, and often wound up being big brother to the kid we roughed up in that alley a year or so ago. And, for some reason, none of that managed to get on a report. And the department didn’t really want to know. All they wanted was numbers, and no ripples in the pond.

Because of the changing times, and the evolution of law enforcement, the modern young officers will never see that form of policing, and of course this is best; the current way is the right way… Now. But it was different then (ergo, the Dinosaur Syndrome).

When it’s time to go, we wonder if we’re going to miss the job. After all, other than our kids and a few marriages, it was the most important thing in our lives. Actually, it was the other way around. The job was first, but only another cop could understand how I mean that.

But have faith, brother! After a short time of feeling completely impotent (after all, you’re just John Q. Now), reality hits like a lead weight

It’s not the job we miss after all. It’s what we, as individuals, had accomplished while in this profession that we miss. The challenge of life and death, good and bad, right and wrong, or even simply easing the pain of some poor bastard for a while, someone we will never see again.

We know the reality of what’s happening out there. We are the ones who have spent our entire adult life picking up the pieces of people’s broken lives. And the bitch of it all is that no one except us knows what we did out there.

I was once told that being a good street cop is like coming to work in a wet suit and peeing in your pants It’s a nice warm feeling, but you’re the only one who knows anything has happened.

What I missed mostly, though, were the people I worked with. Most of us came on the job together at the age of 21 or 22. We grew up together. We were family. We went to each others weddings, shared the joy of our children’s births, and we mourned the deaths of family members and marriages. We celebrated the good times, and huddled close in the bad.

We went from rookies who couldn’t take our eyes off of the tin number of the old timer we worked with, to dinosaurs.

After all, what they gave us was just a job. What we made of it was a profession. We fulfilled our mission, and did the impossible each and every day, despite the department and its regulations.

I think the thing that nags you the most when you first retire is: After you leave the job and remove your armor, the part of you that you tucked away on that shelf for all those years, comes out. It looks at all the things you’ve hidden away. All the terrible and all the wonderful things that happened out there. And it asks you the questions that no one will ever answer.
“Do you think I did OK? Did I make a difference? Was I a good cop?”

You know what? Yeah, you were a good cop! And you know it!


In closing: the best advice I got, by far, was from an old friend who left the job a few years before me. He told me to stay healthy, work out and watch my diet. He said “Cause that way, the first day of every month you can look in the mirror, smile and say. Screwed them out of another month’s pension!!

Be well!


Défilé de la Saint-Patrick de Québec…

For centuries, Quebeckers and Irish have had strong ties dating back to the arrival of hundreds of thousands of Irish immigrants in Québec City in the early and mid-nineteenth century, especially during the tragic Great Famine in Ireland Between 1845 and 1851.  For this reason, the City of Quebec is especially proud to be connected with the St. Patrick’s Day festivities and the 8th edition of its annual parade – and the members of the Chicago Police Department’s bagpipe and drum band were honored to be back parade.

So many amazing moments to look back on with smiles.  New friends made, old friendships renewed.  As always – it is a privilege to see our comrades from the NYPD and Boston Police pipe bands.  Our mate Bruce Kirkwood sums up the good times had by all in the photo below.  Be sure to surf our Facebook page for a myriad of sights and sounds from the 8th Annual  Défilé de la Saint-Patrick de Québec…  Thank you Quebec.

Cover photo by: Jay Ouellet





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