Gliniewicz One Year Later

A year ago today one story was told; a year later not only is it different, but the entire climate of the country has changed.


AP Photo/Michael Schmidt

Police meet during the hunt for the alleged killers of Lt. Gliniewicz last September.

Panic, lockdown, terror, and the unknown; today marked a year after the death of a small town cop-turned national hero, turned eventual national villain.

On September 1, 2015, the Northern Chicago and Southern Wisconsin border received urgent news of the death of a local police officer while on duty. With mixed information of what caused the death and where the attackers were, much of the surrounding area was in panic as the reality of the heartbreaking event hit home, here in Lake County.

Following a day behind locked doors and little information from the Fox Lake Police Department, people were awe-struck and horrified as they realized that one of their own was killed on duty. The following weeks consisted of top-notch security in the neighboring towns as the police took extra precautions in securing safety among residents, and were seeking an alleged group of murderers who committed the supposed crime. Police cars were seen at each corner and became more visible as one drove closer to the site of the incident, reminding the community of the lost soul.

Although the news caused grief and sadness among many, the community began to unite together in order to honor Lt. Gliniewicz and those securing our freedom as Americans. Blue ribbons were hung all over the county, especially lining the streets of Antioch, extending for miles into neighboring counties and towns while the Fox Lake Police Station was decorated with flowers, ribbons and posters of remembrance.

“I remember being in shock that a part of my community was being hurt,” junior Allie Regalado said. “[But] it was relieving to know that everyone was able to come together and unite.”

Only days after the death ensued, Antioch Community High School graciously opened up its facilities to host a memorial service and public viewing of the body, followed by an 18-mile processional that started in Antioch, where he grew up, and ended in Fox Lake, where he spent several years serving in the Police Department. As thousands of police cars from all over the country led the coffin through crowds of American flags and tear-streamed faces, the thousands lining the streets displayed their honor and respect towards Gliniewicz, and bid the 30-year veteran a last farewell.

Following weeks of remembrance, honor and support for the family, a shocking news flash appeared from the Fox Lake Police Department that revealed the death of the officer as “a carefully staged suicide.” Not only was this news unforeseen and abrupt, but hurtful. For thousands of the police, friends, family and general public that united together to show honor to their hero G.I. Joe, the unexpected news wrought anger and disappointment that lasted for a long time.

“It was really surprising that someone in our community would do something like that,” senior Gretchen Wagner said.

Though many look back on the effort put into honoring the lost life as tainted, the pain of the truth caused our community to bond and unite even closer together, in order to initiate support and hope into the lives of those struggling. The shock of losing a fellow police officer didn’t change, whether it being caused by murderer or one’s personal choice, and the realizations that Northern Illinois faced communicated an experience of growth. We learned to uphold encouragement, hope and service to those around us in our community and world. We do this in an effort to help those who may be hurting, honor those who serve us with their lives and give thanks for the secure and free environment we are able to live in as American citizens.