He was hailed as a hero because he died in uniform and had a nice smile and was the picture-perfect example of a police officer, which was why his funeral was nationally televised, attended by more than 5,000 officers from around the country.
But now we’re learning that Fox Lake Police Lieutenant Joe Gliniewicz was a conniving crook who swindled hundreds of thousands of dollars from the department’s Explorer program, spending it on porn sites, vacations and gym memberships.
On the bright side, it does not appear as if the Illinois cop was raping the teens in the Explorer program as so many other cops have done in the past.
He even discussed planting evidence against Fox Lake Village Administrator Anne Marrin. Possibly cocaine, which they found in his desk. Maybe set her up for a DUI.
He also suggested disposing her body in a state park to shut her up once and for all, according to texts obtained by investigators.
And he tried to arrange for a gang member “to put a hit” on Marrin, according to the Associated Press.
But Gliniewicz, who was also a drunk who had mistresses and sexual harassment complaints against him, ended up turning the gun on himself in what investigators call a “carefully staged suicide.”
So carefully staged that it took them two months to conclude that Gliniewicz was not ambushed by two white men and a black man as they had initially reported.
“Our intention was never to mislead the public — we completely believed from day one that this was a homicide,” said Lake County Major Crimes Task Force Commander George Filenko, who heads the agency that investigated Gliniewicz’s death.
“We explored every possibility of what could have happened out there. In the first several weeks in this of this investigation, there was nothing … leading us toward determining this as a suicide.”
Nothing? How about the fact that Gliniewicz was killed by his own gun?
Oh that’s right, they did not find the gun in the moments after finding his body, which is why they reported to dispatch that both his sidearm and pepper spray had been taken from him.
That, in turn, led to a massive manhunt that shutdown the suburban community of 10,000 residents north of Chicago, leading to an even larger national outcry against the mythical War on Police.
It was not until two days later that police reported they found the gun near Gliniewicz’s body.
Filenko confirmed for the first time police found Gliniewicz’s gun, but refused to say whether it had been fired. He said it does not appear any of the officer’s gear was missing, adding all of the evidence recovered from the scene has been turned over to the Northeastern Illinois Regional Crime Laboratory, Filenko said. He expected results from the lab would be available before the holiday weekend.
By then, they had called off the manhunt, acknowledging that they had let the cop killers slip through their hands. But they also ensured the public that they were determined to get to the bottom of this “homicide investigation.”
And more than a month later, after more than $300,00 was spent on the investigation, including almost $200,000 in overtime, they announced a break in the case.
That Gliniewicz had been killed with his own gun.
But even then, they said they were still perplexed by the case, still referring to it as a “homicide investigation” as the his supporters kept hailing him as a hero.
But it was evident that they knew he had committed suicide in the days following his death, especially when they refused to provide the county coroner with evidence from the shooting, including DNA, fingerprints and residue from the officer’s gun and clothing. Procedures that are routine in shooting deaths, especially shooting deaths of police officers.
Then there was the retired Chicago cop who went to jail trying to get the truth out.
They claimed Joseph Battaglia threatened to harm Filenko and Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd if they did not disclose that Gliniewicz died as a result of suicide.
But they only charged him with disorderly conduct instead of threatening public officials. He case is still pending.
There’s also the fact that Fox Lake Administrator Anne Marrin sent Gliniewicz an email asking for basic expenditure reports the day before he died, which he promised to have to her the following day.
Perhaps investigators were so tightlipped about the investigation because they did not want to tip their hand to Gliniewicz’s family, who are now under investigation for embezzlement, including his wife, Melody, who apparently was on the receiving end of the texts obtained by investigators, as well as his son, DJ.
The family, which is poised to receive 75 percent of his six-figure salary as part of his pension, have not yet been charged, even though you would think investigators have enough probable cause by now.
Since the revelation that Gliniewicz was a crook, an organization that helps surviving families of slain officers is asking his family to return a $15,000 donation.
But that would be an admittance to guilt, so they probably won’t do that unless ordered by a court. This is a family, after all, that has been trained well over the years to never admit to any wrongdoing.
And what about the cops who attended his funeral? The ones that hailed him as a hero?
This is how Paul Marik of Police One reported it back then:
I recently wrote an article wherein I said that public opinion has waned for us. On the day of Officer Gliniewicz’ funeral, I felt very wrong.
It took an enormous tragedy in a wonderful town — the death of a remarkable man — for the silent majority to show its colors. This was not a “Blue Lives Matter” group, a bunch of officers’ spouses, or people who just wanted to see the motorcade.
These were everyday people who probably never thought about the police until they got a speeding ticket or until someone burglarized their house. This was a sea of everyday people who wanted to tell us how they felt by raising a blue flag of support. The last thing GI Joe did for us was bring these communities together as one voice and it has helped thousands of cops understand that they are appreciated.
For over an hour and a half we were silent, in reverence, as we drove watching the people clap, cheer, shout, cry, and wave.
Thank you Antioch, Fox Lake, Ingleside, Pistakee Highlands, Grant Township, and all the other towns we drove through for reinstalling our faith that our communities do appreciate us. Thank you for saying it, showing it, and living it.
We see you, too.
Now Police One is telling themselves that Gliniewicz was just a bad apple, an isolated incident. A rarity among police officers.
Gliniewicz died in the midst of a very tumultuous time for cops. News that he’d stolen from kids to pay for things like “gym memberships and adult websites” gives ammo to the people who declare — falsely — that all cops are somehow bad. When one cop is found out to be dirty, it besmirches the badge for the 99.99 percent of officers out there doing the right thing, at the right time, for the right reasons.
Perhaps it’s true that not all cops are bad. But not all cops are good either. We are reminded of that daily.
But it’s naive to think they are all heroes simply because they once made it through the police academy and were hired at a police agency and managed to hold on to their job without doing anything so egregious – and public– that would force them out of their job.
Here we had a man who laundered tens of thousands of dollars over seven years, directly under the noses of fellow police officers, and nobody noticed a thing until a new village administrator with no law enforcement experience began noticing discrepancies?
And even after they found cocaine in his desk, even after they began realizing – if they had not already known – that he was a crook, they continued to play the Police PR Spin Machine to the public, calling him a hero, a fallen officer, a man who gave up his life protecting and serving the community he loved.
And then they wonder why some of us don’t believe a word they say?
Be sure to watch our tribute to legendary radio broadcaster Paul Harvey in the video below