Lake County officer suspended after being target of Portage investigation

2012-06-13T22:15:00Z 2012-06-14T10:44:11Z Lake County officer suspended after being target of Portage investigationBy Lindsay Machak, (219) 933-3246

PORTAGE | A Lake County sheriff's deputy was suspended after police filed charges against him Tuesday and several weapons were removed from his Porter County home, officials said.

Gary Pilipovich, an eight-year veteran of the Lake County Sheriff's Department, was suspended and his weapon and police identification were taken Wednesday morning, Sheriff John Buncich said.

Portage police Sgt. Keith Hughes confirmed multiple charges were filed against Pilipovich on Tuesday and were waiting to be reviewed by the Porter County prosecutor's office late Wednesday.

Hughes said Portage police seized several weapons from the officer's house Tuesday. Lake County officials retrieved some of the weapons from Portage police early Wednesday.

Portage police talked on the phone with Pilipovich, but he was not at his residence and refused to come home, Hughes said.

He was not listed as an inmate Wednesday night at Porter County Jail or the federal lockup in Hammond, officials said.

Buncich said Pilipovich had been on sick leave from the department for about four months while undergoing treatment for cancer.

A phone number for Pilipovich could not be found, and a call to his family was not returned Wednesday.

Although the nature of the charges were not disclosed Wednesday, Buncich was quick to say he does not condone the behaviors Pilipovich is being accused of but didn't elaborate.

"I did not hire this officer," he said.

As soon as formal charges are approved by the prosecutor's office, paperwork will be immediately filed with the sheriff's merit board if necessary, Buncich said.

“We are going to do what we have to do to clean this mess up,” he said.

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