How a body camera might have helped crack Gliniewicz case

  • George Filenko, Lake County Major Crimes Task Force commander, and the author of a new state law on police body cameras agree a body camera could have helped show who shot Fox Lake Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz.

    George Filenko, Lake County Major Crimes Task Force commander, and the author of a new state law on police body cameras agree a body camera could have helped show who shot Fox Lake Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 9/11/2015 11:41 AM

The author of the state's new police body camera law and a top Lake County investigator agree: A body camera could have helped officials with the investigation surrounding the death of Fox Lake Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz.

George Filenko, commander of the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force, said body cameras would have been helpful to determine who shot Gliniewicz.

 

"Any video would have helped in the investigation," he said. "It could have possibly given investigators a video or a sequence of videos of everything that happened."

"Any video is good evidence," Filenko said.

The search for suspects in the death of Gliniewicz continues, and a month ago, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a new law that sets guidelines for Illinois police to use body cameras and provides a new way to pay for them.

State Sen. Kwame Raoul, a Chicago Democrat who helped write the law, said people often think of the body cameras as a way to keep police accountable, but video from the small devices can also capture valuable evidence.

The new law doesn't require Illinois police to use body cameras. It outlines how they should be used and gives police departments a way to pay for the devices by adding a $5 charge to traffic tickets.

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"What people widely miss is the evidence-gathering component," Raoul said.

The new law says that if they're wearing them, police have to have the cameras running while in pursuit of someone, and Gliniewicz radioed to say he was doing just that before he died.

"The camera would have been recording," Raoul said.

But he cautions body cameras aren't a "cure-all." A video might not always be conclusive.

Investigators have said Gliniewicz didn't have a dash camera in his car. People who appeared on surveillance video near the scene were interviewed by police, but officials say they weren't involved.

Filenko recently outfitted his own department with body cameras. Filenko also serves as the police chief of Round Lake Park.

"Any camera in this situation would have helped investigators," he said.

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