FORT WORTH -- Five dedicated Forth Worth police officers have launched their own bagpiping group
It's only the second such police group in the entire state.
The Fort Worth Police Pipe & Drum Corps started practicing last year. They plan to debut in May at the city's annual memorial service for fallen officers.
"We were all practicing on our own, didn't know it, and kind of found each other," said Sgt. Mike Cagle, the group's leader.
Practice takes places once a week in the basement of the Masonic Lodge near downtown.
Aside from the one hour of on-duty pay and play permitted by the chief, Cagle said everything else is done out-of-pocket, or through donations, and on the officers' own time.
"All five of us have at least five grand of our own money invested in this, in equipment and practice," he said.
Some of the officers work patrol near Texas Motor Speedway, others are part of the motorcycle unit. One is even in mounted patrol on horseback.
The men and women are working diligently toward the debut in May, where they will perform the most recognizable honor guard song, "Amazing Grace."
"I'm not an emotional person by any means, but that can get your most hardened officer or military person --that's when they usually lose it," said Ofc. Jason Back.
While bagpipers are traditionally part of police and firefighter honor guards in the Northeast, the group said the tradition has yet to really take root here in Texas. Most piper performances at memorials for fallen officers are done by individuals within the department, or sometimes even another officer or firefighter from elsewhere.
That is about to change.
"We want to be able to play for those officer's memories, and represent those officer's families," Cagle said.
The group is still awaiting traditional Scottish kilts to arrive from Scotland.
If anyone is interested in making a donation, please specify it is for the bagpiper corps and reach out to the Fort Worth Police Officers Award Foundation at this link.