Chicago police prep 'big contingent' for Bud Billiken Parade in wake of Highland Park tragedy

A staple of the South Side returns later this week and Chicago police pledge to keep it safe.

Bud Billikin is scheduled for this Saturday. The South Side tradition returns to full force for the first time since 2019.

"We're expecting over 100,000 people and the Chicago Police Department is prepared to make sure it's a safe event," said Superintendent David Brown.

Chicago's top cop laid out plans to keep the parade and picnic safe, as it winds along its traditional route down King Drive. One key is the planning that started months ago.

"We start meeting in March and we meet monthly and then weekly and then daily, so we make sure we have a safe and secure parade," said Myiti Sengstacke-Rice, President and CEO of Chicago Defender Charities.


Besides floats and bands, expect plenty of cops.

"We're going to have a big contingent of not only uniform but also officers in plain clothes, not necessarily seen. We'll utilize all of our technology to ensure we're as safe as possible," said Brown.

This is the 93rd year for Bud Billikin, so the community and police know how to do this. But after seeing how the Highland Park Fourth of Juy parade turned into a massacre, with a gunman on a rooftop, Superintendent Brown says that affects their game plan.

Brown says they are, "really focused on the high ground, the rooftops, other high ground areas, in relation to that lesson learned from Highland Park."

In addition, CPD is asking for the public's help to keep Bud Billikin safe by providing extra eyes and ears, and reporting any suspicious activity.