The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Fox Lake Officer, Whose Death Is Still A Mystery, Was Involved In Internal Police Review

By Kate Shepherd in News on Oct 14, 2015 3:00PM

There are some more strange details emerging in the case of a Fox Lake police officer who was found shot to death last month.

Six weeks after the still unsolved death of Lt. Joe Gliniewicz, WGN found out that Gliniewicz was involved in an internal review of Fox Lake's former police chief.

WGN reports the Village of Fox Lake sought approval to spend more than $25,000 on a private detective agency to investigate its former chief of police. The police chief was placed on paid administrative leave after a village administrator questioned his soft discipline of an officer who was accused of verbally and physically abusing a man in custody. The chief resigned after being put on leave. Just two days later, Gliniewicz was asked by the questioning administrator to help with an internal police review.

The day after he was asked to be a part of the internal review, Gliniewicz was found dead after being shot with his own weapon twice. Authorities are still investigating if it was a suicide or homicide.

The alleged abuse incident happened in December but Fox Lake's review didn't start until eight months later.

Update: Dave Bayless, a spokesman for the Village of Fox Lake, says that Gliniewicz was asked to participate in an audit-like review—not an investigative one. He told Chicagoist, "The Village, long before Gliniewicz's death, was looking into whether an excessive force investigation stemming from a December, 2014 incident inside the Fox Lake Police Department's lock up facility, was conducted thoroughly and properly."

He added, "It is common practice, best practice, to conduct an internal administrative review to set the table for the next chief. It is an administrative process akin to an audit. That administrative review was set to begin the Monday before the lieutenant died, and he was asked to participate in the review. He wasn't asked to investigate the chief."

The Village also sent us a statement about the review from Sept. 9:

Upon receipt of the former police chief’s retirement, which became effective on Friday, August 28th, the Village initiated an inventory review of the Fox Lake Police Department’s processes, procedures, supplies, facilities, vehicles and available equipment. The goal of this review was to gather information about the current state of police department operations and assets in order to best inform incoming leadership and aid in a smooth, efficient transition. Generally speaking, this kind of “clean slate” review is standard and is considered a best practice whenever there is a change in leadership at a law enforcement agency.

Understandably, this effort has been slowed due to the Department’s response to Lt. Gliniewicz’s untimely death and the subsequent investigation by the Lake County Major Crime Task Force. With the appointment of Interim Chief Mike Keller, however, the Village is confident that this review can and will continue in a timely fashion.

Lt. Gliniewicz participated in this process, which began just a few days prior to his death. Upon learning of Lt. Gliniewicz’s death, the Village immediately made available to the Lake County Major Crime Task Force all the materials based on this review and other pertinent information in order to assist investigators. The Village has complied to the fullest extent requested by the task force and will continue to do so as the investigation continues.

Due to the sensitive nature of the ongoing investigation, the Village is not at liberty to discuss the content of materials made available to the task force.