East St. Louis Police Chief Suspended


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Jeff White
May 16, 2003, 09:56 AM
E. St. Louis police chief
is suspended without pay

He lent city-owned car
to woman, left revolver
under the front seat


East St. Louis Police Chief Ronald Matthews was suspended Wednesday for five days without pay for letting a woman drive his city-issued car last week with his service revolver stashed under the driver's seat.

Matthews, 52, who had been driving with a suspended license, also was docked 15 vacation days, or about half of his annual vacation time, City Manager Robert P. Storman said.

The woman, 20, was stopped May 8 when she drove Matthews' car, a 2003 Ford Taurus, onto the grounds of Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet, Ill. Security guards conducing a routine check found Matthews' service revolver under the driver's seat.

When Matthews, who was at a nearby motel, was summoned to retrieve the car, authorities found that his license had been suspended for missing a deadline of April 20 for conducting an emissions inspection on his truck.

Matthews could not be reached for comment. He was appointed chief last month when Storman replaced the Police Department's top management. He replaced Delbert Marion, who had served since September 2001.

Storman declined to identify the woman but said she worked part time as an auxiliary East St. Louis police officer.

"The main thing that I think (Matthews) didn't use discretion with was leaving his weapon in the vehicle," Storman said Wednesday. "Each officer should have his service revolver with him at all times."

Storman said he would be checking to make sure that every police officer and city employee with access to a city-issued car had a valid drivers license. He said that Matthews had bought the truck for a relative and that it was not registered at his home address. The chief, who has since sold the truck, had not received written notice that it was due for inspection, Storman said.

Reporter William Lamb:
E-mail: wlamb@post-dispatch.com
Phone: 618-235-6142

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