State Police investigating ex-chief of Gov. Quinn’s security detail
By Dave McKinney Sun-Times Springfield Bureau chief
SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois State Police has opened an investigation into a former chief of Gov. Quinn’s security detail who abruptly resigned this month after allegedly exhibiting erratic behavior.
Kenneth Snider, 49, stepped down from his post as supervisor of Quinn’s south security detail on March 18, the same day of an “altercation” he had with at least one college student in a downstate Carlinville bar, police sources said.
In January 2010, Snider is alleged to have been “running and sliding on his belly on the snow” on a downtown Springfield sidewalk before jumping on the hood of a woman’s car and damaging her windshield, the Springfield State Journal-Register reported in its Saturday editions.
The governor’s office declined to discuss allegations against Snider and referred questions to the Illinois State Police, which refused to confirm a probe of Snider.
Snider is also chairman of the school board in Carlinville, a town of about 5,700 people 50 miles south of Springfield, and chair of the MaCoupin County Democratic organization.
“We have not disclosed the person under investigation or specifics regarding the investigation, other than the fact the Illinois State Police is conducting an investigation involving one of our off-duty officers,” State Police Master Sgt. Isaiah Vega said.
Carlinville’s police chief told the Sun-Times on Friday that Snider was involved in an apparent bar fight and his police department had turned over the matter to the State Police for investigation.
“My agency received a call for assistance from Mr. Ken Snider pretty much at 1 in the morning on the 18th due to an altercation at the Anchor Inn,” Police Chief David Haley said, referring to the bar where the fight occurred.
“My office responded, spoke to a bartender, Mr. Snider, a couple other people. Basically, we did a short preliminary investigation and [later that day] ... I contacted the Illinois State Police and referred it to them for investigation.”
The owner of the Carlinville bar, who did not want to be identified, said Snider and a student at the town’s Blackburn College were involved in the altercation.
Asked if there was a racial component to their dispute, the owner told the Sun-Times “you’re probably on the right track,” but declined to discuss the matter further.
No arrests were made nor did anyone require medical attention, said Haley. He would not identify the student.
Springfield police believe Snider may have been drinking before his Jan. 27, 2010, encounter with the motorist, whom he paid $300 for damaging her vehicle, the Journal-Register reported. No arrests occurred in that case, which the Springfield Police Department would not discuss Saturday when contacted by the Sun-Times.
Snider had been employed by the state since 1984 and was elevated last December as supervisor of Quinn’s south security detail, a job that put him in charge of overseeing executive protection officers, scheduling, routes and movements, Vega said in a prepared statement late Friday.
That assignment lasted until Jan. 19, when he began to use benefit time until his resignation on March 18, he said.
Immediately after the March 18th incident, Snider resigned his chairmanship of the Carlinville school board and the MaCoupin County Democratic organization.
A message for Snider left Saturday with a woman at his home was not returned.