Chicago PD honors retired cop injured in line of duty - FOX 32 News Chicago

Christmas Surprise: Chicago PD honors retired cop injured in line of duty

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A Chicago police officer who was injured in the line of duty 25 years ago got a special Christmas Day surprise. Fellow officers stepped away from their own families to honor Officer Bernie Domagala.

"I would like to present to you the Pipes and Drums of the Chicago Police Department," said Officer Steve Martinez.

"Oh my God. It's the Drums, the Chicago Police Department," said Domagala's wife, Denise Domagala.

Domagala's smile said it all – retired officer Bernie Domagala was serenaded with is wife and son by his side.

"This was amazing to have the brotherhood, the police department here to support him. The music was, just always, always touching, said Denise Domagala.

And emotional.

Bernie Domagala had no idea what was planned.

The retired police officer was shot in the head in 1988. Since then he's spent time at Saint Paul's House in Irving Park East where residents gathered to share Domagala's joy.

"He was very touched. He was very happy… because of the brain injury, it's hard," said Denise Domagala.

"Bernie went to work one day and he came home much different but it's more important, I think, to acknowledge and remember his bravery and his sacrifice and that's something that we should never forget," said Thomas Cunningham, President of the Pipes & Drums of the Chicago Police Department.

The message behind the music?

"Regardless of rank, it doesn't matter, we're all together in it and I think it showed today," said Cunningham.

"Bernie is one of our brothers and this is what you do for your family," said Martinez.

The best gift of all – to be cherished and remembered by an extended family of fellow officers.

"The Chicago Police Department is a family, it's a tight family and just like everybody at home sitting with their families on Christmas, we're with our family on Christmas," said Martinez.

The Domagala family say they thought the surprise was Santa or dogs because Bernie Domagala loves visits from the K-9 unit. Fox 32's Tisha Lewis reports many of Domagala's fellow officers visit him regularly but wanted to do something extra special this Christmas.

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