Top officials of the Tennessee Highway Patrol concocted a fake punishment for the trooper who fixed a speeding ticket for Deputy Governor Dave Cooley, the Tennessean reports. Notes from a high-ranking officer say the idea was to reassign Lt. Ronnie Shirley from one county to another so “the media will be satisfied thinking we did something to him.” The reassignment would actually only be “on paper,” the notes say.
The story about the ticket fixing created a furor and led Gov. Phil Bredesen to order a review of the matter. After receiving the results of that probe by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Bredesen publicly reprimanded Cooley and ordered him to stay away from involvement with the patrol. A months-long investigation by The Tennessean found that the patrol has a history of turning a blind eye when its officers get in trouble. The reports also found cronyism in agency promotions and law-breaking by troopers. Cooley expressed frustration about the citation controversy, calling it “the single most investigated speeding ticket in the history of America.”