Illinois law increases fee to help pay for squad cars

| 7/11/2006

Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed a bill into law Friday, July 7, that will help the Illinois State Police and local law enforcement agencies replace squad cars and maintain current vehicles.

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

The new law, previously SB1089, requires people who opt for court supervisions for traffic violations to pay $25 if convicted of the offense – $20 would go to the police agency that issued the citation. Supervisions are not available to commercial driver’s license holders.

The fee will generate about $15 million for the purchase of more than 500 new squad cars next year to be divided between the State Police and local law enforcement agencies.

“Our police work hard to keep the public safe. But they can’t effectively patrol our roads and respond to emergencies without safe and reliable vehicles,” Blagojevich said in a written statement.

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 signed by the governor 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.

The new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2007.