A 2006 Illinois State law allowing state police to seize the personal property of repeat drunk driving offenders resulted in the seizure of a high performance car early this year. The result of this tale is a perfect example of the sort of corruption of principles that working for the state, any state, leads to.
Taken from it’s rightful owner was a 2006 Dodge Charger with a V-8 Hemi engine that speeds from zero to 60 MPH in five seconds and has a topped out speedometer reading of 165. The high-end cruiser had only 26,000 miles on it when the police forcefully took it from its owner.
Now, did the state police use this car as its most formidable speeder chaser? No. Did the state use it as a sneaky undercover care to catch offenders? Nope. Or, if the police didn’t want to use the car for law “enforcement,” did it get sold for a nice tidy profit to be funnel back to fund important police work? Not a chance.
No, instead of all that, the state assigned this incredibly powerful, luxury car to a perfunctory police bureaucrat, the director of the State Police Merit Board.
Granted it has become increasingly clear to police forces across the country that high performance vehicles do not make for good undercover cars. Many forces are no longer using seized vehicles like this Dodge as part of their law enforcement street fleet. Not only that, but many agencies are beginning to eliminate altogether high-speed chases because of horrific accidents that have killed innocents, so a high-speed car is of little use in that case.
Of course, there is always the option of selling the vehicle so that the sale price can go back into the budget of the police force. Naturally, this option was also not exercised.
Yes, instead of selling the thing or using it properly, some bureaucrat got assigned to him this luxury car as his personal plaything.
Whoever got the car should have immediately realized that he did not have a right to such a luxury at the cost of the people of the state. Whoever gave the car to this bureaucrat should similarly have realized that his actions were not justifiable. But, they had absolute power to do what ever they wanted and guess what? Their own comfort and political payoffs won out. Absolute power tending to corrupt absolutely, and all.
I’d rather see both summarily fired, their pensions and healthcare forfeited.
And this isn’t even to mention the propriety and constitutionality of stealing the personal property of the citizenry by a duly empowered state office. That is a whole ‘nuther kettle of fish.
So, once again what we see here is a perfect example of the assumed position of noblesse oblige that employees of the state assume for themselves at the expense of the Constitution and the people they are supposed to be serving. They can justify any amount of personal enrichment or ease created at the expense of the state by pretending they deserve it because of how “important” they are to us all.
It is said that government is a necessary evil with much emphasis placed on the necessary. All too often people forget the “evil” part. Stories like this don’t tend to reassure, either.