The Newspaper 
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Illinois State Police troopers seized a high-performance muscle car and set it aside for the personal use of an influential police official. The Associated Press reported that a suspected drunk driver in a 2006 Dodge Charger was pulled over in January 2007. The troopers used a state seizure law to confiscate the vehicle.
Once the paperwork was complete, the 425-horsepower vehicle — which had an as-new base price of $38,000 — was handed over for the personal use of Ron Cooley, 56, the Executive Director of the Illinois State Police Merit Board. Taxpayers also pick up the fuel tab for gas-guzzling 6.1 liter V-8 as he drives to and from work each day and on various business trips.
A good relationship with the merit board is essential for any state trooper looking to move up into a position of responsibility.
“The mission of the Illinois State Police Merit Board is to remove political influence and provide a fair and equitable merit process for the selection of Illinois State trooper candidates and the promotion and discipline of Illinois State Police officers,” the board website explains.
According to AP, the Charger is just one of two dozen desirable cars — including an Audi and a Cadillac Escalade — grabbed and kept by state troopers. State police officials decline to identify the beneficiaries of the confiscated car policy claiming it could endanger officers if the type of car they drove at taxpayer expense were made public.