Bagpipes & Drums of the Emerald Society, Chicago Police Department - Copyright 2017 - Honor Our Fallen

History of the Band

February of 1982 witnessed the tragic deaths of three Chicago Police Officers.  Fatefully, two were lost returning from the first officer’s funeral.  Police Officers from the Emerald Society of Illinois, with the assistance of then Mayor of Chicago, Jane Byrne, arranged for the presence of the Pipes & Drums of the Emerald Society - City of New York Police Department to conduct their “Inspectors Funeral” in Chicago.  This impressive and fitting tribute to these “fallen men in blue” was the impetus for the formation of the Band.  The Bagpipes & Drums of the Emerald Society - Chicago Police Department was subsequently formed in May of 1982 with the help of Mayor Jane Byrne and then Emerald Society President Dan Burke.  Playing at the funerals of Police Officers and Firefighters killed in the line of duty was the goal.  Throughout the years the Band has participated in over one hundred honor funeral services for members of the Chicago Police Department, Chicago Fire Department and numerous Suburban, County, State and Federal agencies - including Capitol Hill Police Officer Jacob J Chestnut and Special Agent John M Gibson, killed in July of 1998.  In September of 2002, the band journeyed to New York’s Ground Zero to return the benevolence they offered in 1982.


Forty-four members of the Emerald Society of Illinois consisting of State, County, City of Chicago and Suburban Officers gathered to form the Band.  Over the years, many members have come and gone for various reasons.  However, today the band has over eighty officers in uniform with twelve original members still active in the Band.  Even today members of the Band consist entirely of active and retired Law Enforcement Officers from the rank and file of Federal Agencies, State, Counties, City of Chicago and numerous Suburban Police Departments.



Besides our primary function, the band has expanded its purpose to promote the appreciation of piping music.  To this end, the band performs at numerous parades throughout the year, highlighted by the St. Patrick’s Day events in the Loop and Southside.  As a member of the Midwest Pipe Band Association, the band has participated successfully in various competitions through the midwest.


Several movies that show our Band in action include:

                    Backdraft

                    The Fugitive

                    The Package

                    The Negotiator.

                    Stir of Echoes (Pipe Sgt. Tim Sheehan)


The Band has also performed alongside Doc Severenson, Kevin Matthews, Jay Leno, Drop Kick Murphy’s, Black 47 and Seanchai & the Unity Squad.


In September of 2007, the Band celebrated twenty-five years of service to the members of the Chicago Police Department and the surrounding law enforcement communities by hosting a Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Tattoo at the Chicago Symphony Center.  Performing at the Tattoo were the Bagpipes & Drums of the Emerald Society, New York City Police Department, Police Pipes & Drums of Bergen County, Mullane Irish Dancers, Catherine O’Connell, The Larkin & Moran Brothers and of course, the Bagpipes & Drums of the Emerald Society, Chicago Police Department.  Mayor Jane Byrne was in attendance as the Bands Special Guest of Honor.  The Tattoo was a complete success, and the Band would like to thank everyone who contributed to the Band during the last twenty-five years.