Illinois officer's personnel file contains warning signs

AP News
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Posted: Nov 06, 2015 8:34 PM
Illinois officer's personnel file contains warning signs

Personnel records for the Illinois police officer who authorities say killed himself after years of embezzlement reveal a troubled on-the-job history going back years.

The village of Fox Lake released Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz's personnel file late Thursday. Authorities revealed this week that the 30-year police veteran, who was found dead Sept. 1, staged his suicide to look like he'd been shot in the line of duty. He killed himself, they say, because he believed his years of stealing money from a youth program were about to be exposed.

Documents in his personnel file dating back to the 1980s reveal troubles ranging from lying about being sick to carrying on an inappropriate sexual relationship with a subordinate officer and appearing to threaten to kill a dispatcher.

Here are some of the more troubling notes:

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May 11, 1988: A fellow officer finds Gliniewicz passed out in his truck after drinking, with his foot on the gas and the engine at full throttle. The officer had the truck towed and took Gliniewicz home. When he awoke, Gliniewicz, who couldn't remember the incident, reported his truck stolen. He was not disciplined. The fellow officer noted it was not the first time something like this happened.

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June 17, 1988: Gliniewicz receives a written reprimand for failing to pat down a prisoner, who was later found with a knife in his cell and threatening to slit his own wrists.

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March 28, 2003: The Fox Lake police chief demands a written explanation as to why Gliniewicz took it upon himself to give himself manager-level access to a call recording system that contained information so sensitive that even the chief didn't have access to it.

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April 14, 2003: In a memo to the police chief, a dispatcher complains about Gliniewicz telling her that he would put bullets in her chest after the two had a disagreement about him being in the radio room. The dispatcher wrote that Gliniewicz followed the remark by saying her body might never be found because there are a lot of lakes in the area. She wrote that when he laughed, she began to think his comments were a joke. She added that while she felt threatened at the time, she later believed he was not threatening her. Still, she noted that the nature of the remarks greatly upset her.

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April 15, 2003: A day after those remarks, Gliniewicz shows up in the radio room with a large firearm and appears to chamber a round while standing behind the dispatcher, according to a memo from the woman, who calls it an apparent attempt to intimidate her. "What I find extremely disconcerting is that since I've started working there, since October 1991, no one, including Commander has ever done that ... cocked a gun in the Radio Room," she wrote. "Why does he do this after his recent comment about putting '... bullets in my chest'?"

In a follow-up memo in response, Gliniewicz says none of his actions were intended to be threatening.

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Oct. 29, 2003: Gliniewicz ordered an officer to leave a crime scene unattended and before evidence technicians arrived because the next shift needed the squad car.

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Also in 2003, a female officer filed a federal sexual harassment lawsuit against the village and the police department. The officer said Gliniewicz, while working as her supervisor, pressured her to perform sex acts multiple times in 2000 in exchange for him protecting her job. She later was dismissed from the department. The village acknowledged in the lawsuit that Gliniewicz was suspended for 30 days for conduct unbecoming an officer, but insisted the sexual conduct was consensual. Court records show a judge dismissed the case in 2005 after the female officer's attorney repeatedly missed deadlines to file court documents.

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Feb. 1, 2009: Several members of the Fox Lake Police Department write an anonymous letter to the mayor at the time complaining that the police chief has not dealt appropriately with problems involving Gliniewicz that have been brought to his attention.

Among the two-page list of accusations: an inappropriate sexual relationship with a subordinate who later sued the department, other instances of sexual harassment, threatening a dispatcher, being spotted out around town with women other than his wife. The letter also states that bouncers have complained to members of the department that they had to throw Gliniewicz out of bars for being too drunk and refusing to leave after closing time.

The letter also accuses him of allowing members of the youth Police Explorer program unfettered access to department vehicles and equipment at the expense of on-duty officers and of getting a tattoo while on duty.

It was not clear from the file whether any action was taken in response to the letter. The AP attempted to reach the former mayor for comment, but telephone messages were not returned.