The State Police continues its review of the long practice — not anticipated in law or regulation as far as I'm aware — of providing security for the Arkansas potentate otherwise known as the University of Arkansas football coach. After 40 years, the Petrino scandal has encouraged discussions about formalizing the football manservant job. State Police security for the governor became a matter of statutory responsibility during the Huckabee era, when he was playing fast and loose with a variety of state perks, from housing to vehicles.
An article in today's Democrat-Gazette says the agency has concluded (despite some pretty strong suggestions to the contrary in state ethics law concerning gifts given to public employees in return for performance of duties) that no rules were violated by Capt. Lance King — the football coach body man — in taking more than $3,000 in Hog gear and game tickets as tips for his service to The Program. Two other state troopers join the security force diverted from highways of Arkansas to The Program.
The following might be the most bothersome element of today's Democrat-Gazette story (never mind the fact of troopers serving as errand boy/ambulance driver at the beck and call of the coach's girlfriend, as happened in the Petrino wreck):
King and the other two troopers each received Razorback apparel that the university requested they wear while providing security on days other than game days. The apparel included a warm-up suit, Tshirt, ball cap, polo shirt and athletic shoes, which the university assigned a combined value of $139 for each trooper. [See one of our readers' comment on this baloneyous cost estimate. You try to buy these Hog items in an accredited shop for $139]
And, I guess, if the university had instructed Arkansas state troopers to wear bunny suits on Easter, the state troopers would have donned bunny suits. They are state troopers. They are working security under their authority as state troopers. They are employed by the Arkansas State Police. They should wear State Police uniforms in that capacity. Period. If the university wants to hire private security officers and make them wear Hog uniforms, you'd think the Razorback Foundation, which pays Frank Broyles $387,000 a year for being Frank Broyles, could scratch up the cash.