“G.I. Joe” will be remembered on Monday when he is laid to rest but here’s why the Fox Lake community is mourning his loss so deeply:

They wanted to be like him.

Aspiring police officers who signed up for the Fox Lake Explorers program found a mentor and inspiration in Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, a cop’s cop and an Army vet who was killed in the line of duty Tuesday.

This homicide in a suburb of 10,000-plus residents reminds us, in the midst of an intense national conversation about policing that we as a nation have been having for a year, that to serve as a cop is to put yourself at risk even on the most routine of days.

All of us should focus now on what happened to Joe Gliniewicz, and on why his community treasured him as an extraordinary cop.

On routine patrol at 7:52 a.m., Gliniewicz radioed that he was checking out suspicious activity, and at 7:55 that he was pursuing suspects on foot. Then silence. Backup officers arrived at 8:01 and, at 8:09, found him in a swampy area near U.S. Highway 12, where he’d been shot. He died at the scene.

In the chaotic hours that followed, hundreds of officers from all over searched for three suspects, described only as one black, two white. And the citizens of Fox Lake took measure of their loss. The most moving testimonials came from the young men and women who trained under Gliniewicz in the Explorers.

“He was a fearless leader,” said 17-year-old Devan Arbay, captain of Post 300. “All the Explorers, even throughout Illinois, knew him really well.”

Gliniewicz founded the local program shortly after joining the police force 30 years ago and spent countless hours showing youngsters what it takes to be a cop.
Via: Chicago Tribune

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