Illinois bill would increase fees to help pay for squad cars

| Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A bill awaiting Gov. Rod Blagojevich's signature would help the Illinois State Police replace patrol cars in its fleet.

The Senate approved the bill in April with a 57-1 vote. House lawmakers later gave unanimous consent to the measure, which cleared the way for the bill to move to the governor's desk.

Earlier this year, Blagojevich proposed replacing 500 patrol cars in the fleet of more than 2,300.

The measure – SB1089 – would require people who opt for court supervisions for traffic violations to pay $25 if convicted of the offense. The fee would generate about $8 million for the State Police, The Quad-City Times reported.

Two efforts that also sought to provide more money to replace patrol cars, however, failed to gain passage in the General Assembly.

One bill would have added a $25 fee to the cost for traffic violators who are arrested. Another bill would have added a $5 fee to all speeding convictions.

Supporters of the measure that passed the legislature say Illinois is one of the few states without a strict replacement program for its squad cars. Master Sgt. Rick Hector told the Chicago Tribune that the agency ideally would replace cars after they've reached 80,000 miles. But a majority of the fleet has more than 100,000 miles.

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