Today, I received yet another reminder that I live in one of the most corrupt and badly run states in the Union.
I was driving south on the Tri-State on my way to a doctor's appointment. I was in a construction zone, traffic was congested, and in the leftmost lane of the tollway (one to my left) there was a police vehicle approaching rapidly with its lights on. Well, that was easy to deal with. I wasn't in front of him, so I slowed down, left room for other vehicles to merge right, and he went past.
This was an unfamiliar police vehicle though. Traffic eased up almost immediately after he passed and he swung over into the right-hand lane and turned off his lights. At that point I got a good look at the text on the side of the vehicle: "Secretary of State Police". That seemed odd. Why in the world does the Secretary of State require his own police force?
A bit later, traffic became congested in another construction zone. By this time, the aforementioned vehicle was back in the leftmost lane. He popped on his lights and proceeded to pass the slowed traffic while driving on the shoulder. This seemed (and continues to seem) like a poor choice, because this falls into the category of fairly dangerous driving and it is difficult to imagine what sort of emergency the "Secretary of State Police" might be heading to that would make this a good idea.
When I got to my destination, I looked them up on the Internet. And here's what it says:
"The department is recognized throughout the state and the nation as one of the premier agencies for the enforcement of the motor vehicle theft statutes and the regulation of the automotive industry.
Currently the Department regulates more than 15,000 licensees including new and used dealers, used part dealers, repairers and rebuilders."
Right. Hard to imagine exactly what sort of emergency he was heading to that would require him to be running hot -- or, honestly, to have a vehicle with lights and siren at all.
But that's the state I live in.