The Illinois State Police Firearms Bureau has a secret weapon hidden in its arsenal.
Firearms eligibility analyst Tariq Toran made national headlines coaching a fifth-grade all-girls basketball squad known as the Central Illinois Xpress. The girls’ tream has an impressive 8-2 record in boy’s league. The New York Times and several other media outlets recently featured Toran in exclusive coverage highlighting his team’s accomplishments.
Toran, a criminal justice major from Jackson State University, Jackson, Miss., incorporates the the state police motto of integrity, service and pride into every practice. “Practices are very intense. The girls complete up to 130 pushups during the course of an evening. I train them the same way I do men’s basketball,” Toran said.
Toran has the girls play the boys for a good reason.
“I’m toughing them up by playing them against boys, so that they’ll be ready for anything that comes their way in the girls league,” he said. The Central Illinois Xpress is a traveling team playing in venues across the midwest in Detroit, Columbus, Indianapolis and Chicago.
Toran has served in the state police firearms bureau since 2013. His goal is to wear a state police uniform, and he is waiting for the testing to open up so he can try to become an state police officer.