As Chicago celebrates St. Patrick, police radios detail the shenanigans

Chicago’s annual St. Patrick’s celebrations have been tamed from the rip-roaring, no-holds-barred free-for-alls that were unleashed downtown and in Wrigleyville for years. But the Chicago police radio traffic is still peppered with entertaining nuggets.

You may be familiar with our summaries of police chatter in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. COVID put a damper on things beginning in 2020, but now the city appears to be on the road to reclaiming its former glory.

The day began ominously, with two people shot in the 100 block of North Dearborn as crowds filled the area for the river dyeing and parade just before 9 a.m. Even before police knew about the shooting, an officer radioed the license plate of a car speeding through the area, a detail that later allowed investigators to link the vehicle to the shooting.

Thankfully, those were the most serious broadcasts of the day.

9:03 a.m. — A Chicago police big shot orders cops to start clearing spectators off the downtown bridges.

9:30 a.m. — A different Chicago police big shot: “The main goal right now is to keep the bridges clear.”

9:31 a.m. — Cop: All of the people we just cleared off of the bridges’ top decks are now on the lower decks.

9:44 a.m. — Communication snafu. Cop: Hey, the CTA was informed about the parade, but nobody told them about the river dyeing, so we have buses coming into the crowd.

9:56 a.m. —The second Chicago police big shot is back: No one is to be on the bridges at this time. They’re gonna start dyeing the river in four minutes.

10:01 a.m. — Cop: Pedestrians are bypassing the barricades to get onto the Michigan Avenue bridge. They are “ignoring me completely … No one is listening to anything at this point. It’s ridiculous.” A Chicago police bike team is sent over to help.

10:03 a.m. — Cop: We have a lot of people on the State Street bridge.

10:26 a.m. — Cop: Can we get help clearing the Columbus bridge? We got 300 or 400 people on it, refusing to leave.

11:32 a.m. — Congratulations to the guy at Michigan and Adams. You’re the first arrest of the day!

11:35 a.m. — Congratulations to the unconscious woman at Michigan and Jackson. You’re the first EMS run of the day!

11:48 a.m. — Man down “at the Abraham Lincoln statue port-a-potties.”
Dispatcher: What’s the male wearing?
Cop: Black sweats, green shirt.

12:30 p.m. — YAY! The parade is starting!

12:31 p.m — BOO! A man has broken through the barricades at Columbus and Jackson. He’s on the parade route, throwing up gang signs.

12:33 p.m — Officer at the Subway restaurant, 69 West Washington: “Can I get a backup, please? Because everyone is drunk over here.”

12:54 p.m. — Meanwhile, in Lakeview, Walgreens is calling about a man wearing an Irish hat and green jacket. He keeps stealing wine, drinks it outside, then comes back in to steal more wine. 1649 West Belmont.

1:38 p.m. — Someone just threw milk jugs at the police. Columbus and Monroe.

1:41 p.m. — Be advised, the people who threw milk jugs at the police also stole the license plates off a Chicago police car. Officers request the police helicopter to “monitor the crowd” and look for their prime suspect: a male wearing a green jacket and an “Irish hat.”

1:57 p.m. — Oh, gosh. Walgreens is calling again. The guy is completely drunk now. He’s behind the counter, stealing booze, and arguing with the manager. Still wearing the green jacket and green hat.

2:01 p.m. — We have a sidewalk inspector in Wrigleyville—a “very intoxicated” man down just off the Clark Street bar strip. The pub crawl organizers’ private ambulance scoops him up.

2:13 p.m. — The police helicopter calls out a police foot chase as it makes its way down the parade route. Arrest #2 is eventually executed at Jackson and Columbus.

2:25 p.m — Cop: “These two young ladies are not in distress, but they are extremely drunk and don’t seem to know where they’re going. They need to dry out.” State and Hubbard.

2:38 p.m. — Check the well-being. A 911 caller says there’s a guy lying in the middle of the street drinking a bottle of wine in front of Walgreens, 1649 West Belmont.

3:03 p.m. — Bro! The cops just arrested the Walgreens guy!

4:02 p.m. — Dispatcher to cop: Are you assigned to a location?
Cop: No. We’re on foot, going around the Loop, slapping drinkers and urinators.
Dispatcher: That sounds fun.

4:49 p.m. — Battery in progress. “Ten male Whites wearing green clothing are fighting.” Sheffield/Wellington.

6:01 p.m. — EMS call on Sheffield.
Dispatcher: “Male down on the ground. He’s wearing, guess what color?”
Multiple voices: “Green.”

7:09 p.m. — EMS call, 303 East Wacker. “Male White in his 30s, wearing a green sweater and no shoes, is passed out, unresponsive in the lobby.” Fire’s rolling.

Hey! I wonder what’s happening in Wrigleyville. Let’s go to Snapchat:

7:53 p.m. — Criminal damage to property in progress at Oz Park. Five intoxicated males are mounting the Tin Man.

9:32 p.m. — Wrigleyville: Someone got slugged at Slugger’s. He’s injured. Suspect description: Hispanic man wearing a green hoodie and a green pub crawl t-shirt.

10:07 p.m — Just south of Wrigleyville, a motorist reports seeing a man passed out in the middle of Clark and School streets with his pants down to his ankles. Fire’s rollin’.

12:10 a.m. — Well-being check in Wrigleyville “A man keeps running up to people, screaming that he’s on meth.” You can guess what he’s wearing.

3:02 a.m. — Suspicious person in Wrigleyville. Caller says a man keeps ringing their bell, saying he lives on the fourth floor. It’s a three-story building.

Original reporting that you’ll see nowhere else. CWB’s work is 100% paid for by our subscribers.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is