How much is Gliniewicz investigation costing taxpayers?
In the first three weeks after the still-unsolved Sept. 1 shooting death of Fox Lake police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, taxpayers in 50 suburban jurisdictions paid more than $300,000 combined to cover costs of local law enforcement personnel who assisted in the investigation.
According to a Daily Herald analysis of personnel records from the 50 police agencies throughout northern Illinois, almost two-thirds of the costs -- $196,351 -- were related to overtime, including some for officers who were paid to attend Gliniewicz's Sept. 7 funeral.
Departments with personnel assigned to the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force incurred some of the highest costs, according to the analysis.
"Public safety is expensive, period," said Mundelein Village Manager John Lobaito. "But there's no substitute, and it's something worth spending the taxpayers' money on. We're going to do anything reasonable to help them and they would do the same for us."
State Sen. Terry Link said the costs might be an argument for consolidating public safety agencies in the future.
"I know the immediate response if there are three suspects on the run, you get as much out there as possible and not worry about the cost, and that I will give them," said Link, a Waukegan Democrat. "I'm still a total believer that consolidation would bring down the cost of all this. The thing with consolidation is you have better control over the people sent out and where they're coming from."
Gliniewicz's death remains a mystery. Authorities said they are searching for three men but offer little more in the way of details. Investigators said Gliniewicz was killed with his own weapon. He was shot twice in the upper body.
In all, the 50 suburban police departments and sheriff's offices used 283 people in the first three weeks to assist in the investigation or to cover shifts of those assisting in Fox Lake, which amounted to more than 5,700 hours of work, according to the analysis.
Mundelein spent $23,285 between the time of the shooting and Sept. 23 on 18 officers who devoted a total 354 hours to the investigation. Mundelein police investigator Michael Bush, a member of the major crimes task force, averaged more than 11 hours each day on the case during that time without taking a day off.
That came with significant price tag, according to the village's records. Bush's time accounted for more than half the village's total costs and $4,799 of the village's $8,228 of overtime.
The Lake County sheriff's office deployed 93 employees to assist in the investigation. Overtime costs alone amounted to nearly $46,000, according to records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.
"There was daily analysis of overtime," said Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran. "At the end of the day, we have to be financially responsible."
The manhunt and subsequent investigation into Gliniewicz's death is unusual in scope and size, law enforcement officials said.
From the outset, a two-square-mile perimeter was established, which required mobilization of the Northern Illinois Police Alarm System Mobile Field Force. Maintaining the perimeter required a significant amount of staff, said Lake County Major Crimes Task Force spokesman Chris Covelli.
Searching within that perimeter also meant marshaling scores of law enforcement personnel. More than 100 local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies sent officers to assist.
"The massive response has to do with armed offenders who shot somebody," Covelli said.
"In this case it was an officer, and we were searching over two square miles of treacherous terrain."
Covelli said it's understood among participating departments that once a major crimes task force investigation is undertaken, departments are essentially dedicating a detective or evidence technician to the task force until the investigation concludes. And the cost is picked up by the employee's home department.
"When a member agency joins the task force they get the benefit of having the entire task force to themselves if necessary," Covelli said.
Despite these additional unforeseen costs, local law enforcement officials say task forces and intergovernmental assistance agreements are fiscally responsible because they allow departments to share resources instead of incurring the cost of training each entire department in a variety of investigative techniques and evidence collection.
"God forbid we should need their assistance, but because oftentimes, as you've seen here with a smaller community, they don't have the resources or expertise to deal with something of this tragic nature or when incidents become large in scale," Lobaito said.
In addition to officers sent to assist in Fox Lake, another driver of extra costs to local law enforcement agencies was "backfilling" those assisting officers' local shifts. Local departments often called in off-duty officers to work shifts at overtime rates.
Several departments also backfilled shifts of officers who attended Gliniewicz's funeral, while others were paid to attend the funeral. Because the funeral was held on Labor Day, officers were paid double to work the holiday in some instances, according to the analysis.
"While we do budget for overtime, Day 1 we're throwing all the resources we can because there might be a cop killer on the loose," Curran said, "but after that we're talking about the expenses and what we actually need to expend."
Got a tip?
Email email@example.com or call (847) 427-4602.