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.



you don’t understand police work…

Sharing from a 18 May 2016 article from POLICE ONE.  A question posted on Quora asked, “What do police officers wish the general public knew?” Retired Officer and PoliceOne Columnist Tim Dees gave his opinion on the topic:

1. Use of force isn’t pretty. People have been conditioned by TV to believe that a properly trained police officer of any size can take down a person of superior size and strength, quickly, almost effortlessly, without the use of weapons, and without any injury to either party. This is not true. Few cops are expert martial artists. The defensive tactics training they receive is fairly perfunctory. Struggles often result in injured joints, lacerations, concussions, and other injuries to both parties. There is lots of cursing and screaming involved. The cops usually win, but only because they can get enough cops on the scene to overwhelm the adversary.

2. Most cops never shoot anyone. Very few cops will fire their sidearms outside of the pistol range at some time in their career (more if the cop works in a rural area where having to “dispatch” wounded animals is common). Some might go months without taking the gun out of the holster.

3. Cops will go to extremes to avoid shooting people. My personal experience is that, about once a month, I would encounter a situation where I would have been legally justified in shooting someone. I did that only once, so all the other times, I found some other way of resolving the situation. Casual research tells me my experience is not unique. Most cops have ample opportunities to shoot people, but they choose not to do so.

4. The people at the top often don’t have a lot of practical experience.There are exceptions, but most cops who become chiefs, sheriffs, or other high-ranking officers spend most of their career paving the path to promotion. They spend a brief time as working cops, then transfer to a non-enforcement job, where they stay until they get their first promotion. They never truly understand the job, and the cops they oversee don’t identify with the brass, or the brass with the cops.

5. PTSD is real and commonplace. A cop may have a bad time after he’s involved in a shooting, but the traumatic incident could just as well be a nasty car crash, a fight, or a rescue that didn’t end well. Anyone who can say truthfully that they are never bothered by such things is probably a sociopath. Cops who seek mental health treatment are often viewed suspiciously by their superiors. Those guys didn’t spend enough time on the street to experience anything that bothered them, and they believe that anyone who is bothered is probably unstable.

6. There is lots of stress, but not the kind you might think. Most of the stress comes from the police station, not the street. Law enforcement agencies are extremely political. Who likes you or who you’re friends or relatives with has a lot more to do with the progress of your career than how good you are at your job. “Management by intimidation” is a common technique. From a human resources perspective, law enforcement agencies are horrible places to work.

7. There aren’t all that many bigots. There are some, of course—in a cohort of close to a million people, some of them will be biased. You can get fired for expressing those feelings, so they tend not to last long. Most cops don’t especially care what color you are, what religion you practice, what country your ancestors came from, how much money you have, or what your sexual orientation is. Cops see every kind of person, often at the worst moments of their lives. They know there are good and bad people in every category. They do have a strong bias against jerks, so don’t be one of those.

8. Some of our brother (and sister) officers embarrass us. With the possible exception of field training officers, cops don’t have a lot of input to who gets hired and who is retained on their agency. Everyone knows somebody (probably several somebodys) who is reckless, immature, lazy, dishonest, or just dumb. When these people are allowed to keep being cops, it’s usually because they are politically connected, and reporting them for a transgression will almost always backfire on you.

9. Your “my favorite police encounter” story is not unique. On learning someone is a police officer, most people will immediately relate their most memorable contact with the police. It’s usually a traffic stop, as that’s how most people encounter the police. Your new friend will smile and nod politely, but he’s silently waiting for it to be over. It’s nothing he hasn’t heard before.

10. There are few universal rules or policies. I have lost count of how many questions I have seen on Quora along the lines of “how much over the speed limit can I go before I’ll get stopped” and “what do I say to get out of getting a ticket.” People want to believe there is some industry-wide practice they can exploit to aid them in violating the law. There are over 800,000 law enforcement officers in the United States, and each one of them is a unique person. Their employers seldom impose a formal policy of allowing drivers to exceed the limit by X miles per hour. This is most often left up to the individual.

11. It’s seldom personal. Few cops start their day looking for a particular person, or even a particular class of people to stop. Cops see violations of the law and suspicious circumstances, and they are encouraged by their employers to intervene. If you got a ticket or got arrested, it’s probably because you broke the law, not because the cop didn’t like you or you are a member of some targeted group. If this happens to you a lot, you might want to stop blaming the variables and consider the constant instead.

12. Becoming a cop is harder than you think. Some agencies have to collect over 100 applications to get one viable hire. Some of those hires won’t make it through the police academy. Some who do won’t complete field training. About half of new hires leave law enforcement within five years. Mainly because of anti-police sentiment, it’s more difficult to recruit new cops than ever before. You might want to think that people become cops because they’re too stupid or lazy for real jobs, but you’re fooling yourself. Chances are, you couldn’t make the grade.

13. Television does not represent law enforcement accurately. Most of what most people know about cops is from watching television. This is why people believe that every arrest must be immediately followed by a Miranda warning, that there is a team of FBI agents who fly to crime scenes in an executive jet and solve the case within days, that detectives in one major PD can move to another, distant major PD and instantly resume being detectives, that crime scene investigators collect evidence, identify the suspects, interrogate the suspects, and make the arrests (no one seems to care what the detectives are doing), and that cops who are involved in shootings are back at work the next day.

14. We wish you would stop telling your children we will arrest them if they aren’t good. The day may come, God forbid, that your child is separated from you and doesn’t know where to turn. You’ll probably call the police if this happens. Do you want your child to look for a police officer to help him, or hide from the police because he is afraid he will go to jail?

15. You don’t understand police work. This applies even if your father, mother, sibling, or next-door-neighbor was a cop. Until you have actually done the job for a few years, you will never understand what it’s actually like.

From — Police One — 15 things cops wish the public knew about policing; You don’t understand police work — May 18, 2016



100 Club Challenge…

28 August 2016.  As the sun rose over Lake Michigan, the skirl of the pipes and war beat of the drums filled the area for the 100 Club of Chicago “100 Club Challenge” to make Chicago Triathlon debut,  The 100 Club Challenge is a special race within a race competition during the Transamerica Chicago Triathlon weekend, held each August in downtown Chicago. Originally known as the First Responders’ Competition, the program began in 2007 as a friendly wager among seven members of the Chicago Police Department and the Chicago Office of the FBI. Since then, the competition has hosted more than 1,000 participants from more than 24 agencies across the country. The Transamerica Chicago Triathlon is the world‘s largest multisport event, having welcomed more than 250,000 triathletes across the nish line since 1983. This is truly Where the World Comes to Race.

In 2016, this special competition has been renamed on behalf of the Transamerica Chicago Triathlon’s new partnership with The 100 Club of Chicago. The purpose of this organization is to provide for the surviving spouses and dependents of law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics who lose their lives in the line of duty. This includes federal, state, county and local officers, firefighters and paramedics stationed in both Cook and Lake Counties.

Through both public donations and private fundraising efforts, the program plans to generate more than $25,000 in direct contributions to the 100 Club of Chicago during the 2016 season. There are two ways to participate in the 100 Club Challenge: as a First Responder, or as a civilian fundraiser.

13406735_1008211695941333_6765882159638449919_n2016 marks the 50th Anniversary of the 100 Club of Chicago! 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. We look forward to working with them for the next 50 years.  #100club #50years #neverforget


on the set…

Band members were on the set of the new FOX TV show APB FOX.  Inspired by true events, APB is a new police drama with a high-tech twist. Coming soon to FOX.  Band member Tom McKenna (Chicago’s funniest cop) had this to say leading up to the big day —

“My personal assistant will be arriving on set at 6am. Followed by my hair and makeup at 6:15 and my wardrobe people at 6:30. I will be arriving at 7am in a black stretch limo. License number, HA HA COP 1. Please have appropriate security in place on my arrival. As per my contract, you will have a bowl of green m&ms and a bottle of Jamison in my dressing room. If time permits after the shoot I will stay for autographs and photos. $10 a piece.”

On a serious note – 20th Century Fox made a $5,000 donation to theChicago Police Memorial Foundation-Official Page. #ForOurFallen


blessed are the peacemakers…

We pay tribute to 5 fallen law enforcement professionals who served the City of Dallas: officers of honor and courage murdered in the line of duty — who in times of challenge stood with the innocent against the guilty, with the peaceful against the violent, with the right against the wrong, with the righteous against injustice. When we take the measure of these officers we find heroes.

These officers were the finest example of law enforcement; remarkable courage and strength of character.  Their loss will be deeply felt by all who knew them.  These officers knew where they stood and they claimed their ground with dignity and pride. They were members of a special breed   —  men and women passionately devoted to a profession which is more of a calling than a career.  They went where others feared to go, put the safety of the community before their own, and served with dedication, compassion, purpose and integrity.

Our chosen career is a life of service to others you’ve never met, of days  as quiet and routine and without warning turn chaotic and violent. A life in which you’re never sure if the end of your shift will find you in your car going home or in an ambulance speeding to the emergency room. Nothing can be taken for granted.

The men and women who wear the badge are well aware of these risks. We train, we prepare, we are well equipped, but sometimes none of these things matter.  We have husbands, wives, children, mothers and fathers. We have dreams and goals and look forward to a long and peaceful retirement. But we cannot shrink from our duty.

We see the best and worst of humankind. We confront despair and overwhelming challenges. But still we carry on.

It is difficult to fathom the strength, courage and commitment which propels us to go out the door each morning. Perhaps it is because while we face incredible difficulties we are also privileged to participate in some of society’s greatest moments — seeing good men and women stand up to those who would do them and their neighbors harm– people willing to take risks for each other.

We experience the grateful nod of appreciation from someone we helped, and feel the awe of children who want only to follow in our footsteps – for a peace officer there is no challenge too difficult, no danger too great. For us it is simple: if they need help, we will come.


Blessed are the peacemakers – those who strive to prevent contention, strife, and war; who use their influence to reconcile opposing parties, and to prevent hostilities in families and neighborhoods.


A gesture of friendship…

The Chicago Police Department bagpipe and drum band has been invited to New York to participate at the 9/11 National Memorial 15th anniversary service – and we need financial support.  

Founded in 1999, the Pipes and Drums of the Chicago Police Department is fraternal organization focused on fostering the traditions and respect garnered through playing the great highland bagpipe and Scottish drum.  Our mission is simple: to always be in service to our comrades, their families and friends in their time of need.

We have been privileged to participate in honors ceremonies of our own fallen heroes as well as Peace Officers and Firefighters across our Nation – and now in New York.

We can NEVER FORGET their sacrifice.

The band has setup a FundRazr campaign.  Please consider supporting our endeavor to participate in the 15 year anniversary of the events of 9-11 in New York City so we can stand with our comrades from the NYPD and share our gift of music; music is the social act of communication among people, a gesture of friendship, the strongest there is.

Thank your for your consideration.

FundRazr Campaign



PO Madison Pruitt at rest…

The 6-year-old girl who was made an honorary Chicago police officer last week has passed.  (from WGN TV).  Madison Pruitt suffered from a rare form of muscle cancer.  She dreamed of becoming a police officer. So last week, Chicago’s Interim Police Supt. Eddie Johnson and dozens of officers showed up at her home on the South Side to give her a badge and make her an honorary cop.


It was not an ordinary roll call for 6th District Chicago Police officers today.

After a pep talk from the interim superintendent, they paid a house visit to one of the newest recruits: Madison Pruitt.

6-year-old Madison is  feisty. Her family calls her “bossy lady,” and thanks to Chicago police, she got to see a dream come true today.

For the past year,  Madison has been fighting a rare muscle cancer.

“She is declining, so we wanted to try setup things for her while we could,” her hospice worker Lindsay Wooster said.  So Lindsay called the police district.

Officers made Madison an official lifelong police officer.

It was an emotional moment for Madison’s family.

Madison’s grandmother says she had no idea the family would get such a strong showing from police. She says hopes this will help raise awareness about childhood cancer.

PO Madison Pruitt – EOW 10 April 2016.    Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord – and may perpetual light shine upon he.