Round Lake Park, IL — Round Lake Park Police Chief George Filenko, according to his critics, has left a trail of destruction all along the path of his tumultuous career. Now, The Free Thought Project may have discovered why. An anonymous person has provided us with a newspaper clipping from 1996 which demonstrates, in Filenko’s own words, he walked onto the police force and learned how to be a cop by reading a book.
Filenko, the same man who mercilessly interrogated Melissa Calusinski for over 9 hours without legal representation, who also refused to expeditiously rule officer Joe Gliniewicz’ death a suicide, told reporter Laurie Grano of the Daily Herald he was “looking for extra money” so he decided to be a cop.
Filenko chose the Hainesville Police Department because it was a part-time police department, without a chief, and that the sergeant there would hire someone with “little or no background in policing.”
At the time he was hired on with the Hainesville PD, he was working as a police dispatcher at the Deerfield PD and wanted to try his hand at being a real cop. “If you knew somebody or had some political pull, you got a job,” he bragged as he re-told the story to Grano about how he ultimately became the Hainesville Police Chief.
He’d admitted to Grano that Illinois had few rules on part-time cops, so it was easy for him to become one.
Through his connections, Filenko got hired as a patrolman and told Grano his only police training was minimal. Grano wrote, “His training consisted of a drive around town and an officer’s guide book,” and added, “Any technical questions on policing were answered by his friends and mentors at the Deerfield department and by the one officer in Hainesville Filenko called a ‘glimmer of hope’.”
Six months after becoming a walk-on cop, he was promoted to sergeant. Within months, the former dispatcher became the town’s police chief.
After leading Hainesville’s police department for several years, the damage was done, and the police department closed its doors for good. Critics charge Filenko with running the fledgling department into the ground, before leaving and becoming the head of Lake County’s Major Crimes Task Force.
While in that role, Filenko was charged with investigating “G.I. Joe” Gliniewicz’ mysterious death. The officer radioed in he was pursuing suspects but was found dead. Filenko and county coroner Thomas Rudd examined the scene. Rudd concluded the officer’s death was a suicide, but Filenko wanted to milk his death and use it as an excuse to deploy a police dragnet which would snatch up dozens and dozens of suspects in Gleniwicz’ death.
Some of those caught in the roundup are now suing, claiming, with reason, their civil rights were violated.
Rudd and Filenko butted heads again when Coroner Rudd changed a toddler’s official cause of death from homicide to “undetermined.” Rudd said this move angered Filenko who intimidated and coerced a murder confession from daycare worker Melissa Calusinski, according to sources close to the case.
Calusinski is still in prison for a crime many, including the coroner, believe she did not commit. She was interrogated for hours on end over the toddler’s death, eventually giving a false confession according to such experts.
Political payback is what Rudd’s friends are calling what happened to the coroner, who appeared on 48 Hours to tell the world he knew for a fact Calusinski did not kill the boy.
The former County coroner was arrested on perjury charges after certifying he’d obtained signatures for his election campaign but campaign aides actually got the signatures. Rudd just certified them, and that was all Filenko needed to exact payback against the coroner for speaking out against him.
Now, late breaking news reveals the man who initially filed the election fraud complaint, Burton Odelson, has joined Rudd’s legal defense team. In other words, the offended political opponent believes what is happening to Rudd is “overkill” and simply doesn’t want to see the whistleblower go to jail or prison.
Filenko’s continued ‘service’ to the people of Round Lake Park also included spying on all of his officers, according to a lawsuit filed against him, his Deputy Chief, and the village.
When all but two of his officers filed suit against him, he began, according to the allegations, to systematically defame, demoralize, and demote all officers named on the suit until they either resigned, removed their names from the lawsuit, or were terminated.
Unconfirmed rumors indicate the Illinois Sheriff’s Association is planning to ask Filenko to resign. For the Calusinski family, the news cannot come soon enough.