Illinois State Police Investigating Usage of Governor's Security Force

CHICAGO (AP) -- Illinois State Police said Monday they are investigating the practices of Gov. Rod Blagojevich's security detail, including the conduct of some bodyguards and their use on private trips.

State troopers who guard the governor allegedly allowed friends and family to travel in police cars, and a trooper was suspended for two days for not reporting that he saw the governor's personal driver drinking on the job.

``These are things that shouldn't be occurring and we want to get to the bottom of it,'' State Police spokesman Lt. Lincoln Hampton said Monday.

Hampton said the investigation would determine whether proper procedures were followed and if any actions violated state policy.

Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff said the governor supports the investigation.

``If anyone has done something wrong, then they should be held accountable,'' she said.

The allegations were first reported by WLS-TV. The report also said the governor had six state police cars driven to Boston for the Democratic National Convention in July, and had 12 bodyguards, costing nearly $23,000 in hotel bills.

For a trip to California, Blagojevich had 10 bodyguards and six state police cars while he attended a fund-raiser in Beverly Hills, and later the wedding of his chief of staff in Sonoma.

Ottenhoff said it is cheaper to drive state police cars out of state than it is to fly and then rent cars. He said the governor pays for his and his family's travel expenses during personal trips, but does not reimburse the state for the security contingent.

Hampton said the amount of security Blagojevich has is about the same as former Governors George Ryan, Jim Edgar and James Thompson had.

``We'll look into it and determine did this happen and we'll make a decision as to whether it was wrongdoing or not wrongdoing,'' Hampton said.

Loading