Daily Herald editorial: Mourning police officer's death for entire community

Our hearts are heavy today for the family of Fox Lake Police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, who was shot and killed Tuesday morning while chasing down a trio of what he called “suspicious” characters.

We grieve for his wife. His four children. His extended family.

For his fellow Fox Lake officers. For the young cops he trained, for the kids in the Explorer program he mentored, for the underprivileged kids who got to know him through Shop With a Cop. For the people he touched through his work with Special Olympics.

For the vast brotherhood of police officers who are mourning his loss, whether they knew him or not.

For all of those people in Fox Lake he kept safe in one way or another during his three decades of service.

For all of us.

Ten suburban police officers have lost their lives in the line of duty in the last 30 years, but Gliniewicz is the first to have been shot to death since Hampshire Sgt. Gregory Sears in 2000. This sort of thing doesn't happen here.

By all accounts, Lt. Gliniewicz lived and breathed and promoted police work. His family and the police department were his life, said McHenry resident Karla Zander, who has known him for seven years. “He was an amazing police officer,” she said. “He put his heart and soul into the department.”

We've been lucky enough to know many fine police officers through the years. But it's difficult for many of us to appreciate the general unease — especially in the year since Ferguson erupted — of being the spouse, the child, the sibling of a police officer. What it's like to send a loved one off to work each day not knowing what they'll encounter.

We know little of what happened Tuesday morning. It's too early to form educated opinions. Gliniewicz radioed in that he was chasing two “suspicious” white men and a black man. An officer responding to his call found him near death with a gunshot wound. As of Tuesday evening, none of the suspects had been caught and there was little to draw on for a motive.

Illinois Fraternal Order of Police President Chris Southwood issued a statement praising Gliniewicz's service.

“This is the very real danger that all law enforcement officials knowingly face every day when they put on the badge and go out to protect all of us. We pledge to honor his memory by continuing to protect and serve the citizens of Illinois, and hope that those responsible can be quickly apprehended without further bloodshed and brought to justice.”

A disgusted Lake County Undersheriff Raymond Rose said it simply.

“This has got to stop.”


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