Illinois state Rep. Brian Stewart, R-Freeport, has introduced a bill that would allow money from the State Police Vehicle Fund, used to buy police vehicles, to also pay for the installation of lights, radios and computers needed to put them into service.

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that there are more than 80 new 2013 Chevrolet Caprices parked on a state police lot near the state fairgrounds in Springfield awaiting the upgrades, with the department set to begin taking delivery of about 400 more new cars starting next month.

Stewart said he and his three Republican co-sponsors will begin recruiting Democratic lawmakers to back the bill, hoping to bring it to a vote this spring despite the fact that the deadline to introduce legislation for the session has passed.

"This is not a partisan issue. The state has already invested in the squads. They are paid for," said Stewart, a retired sheriff's police officer. "The money is there. We need to get those cars on the road."

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