Another officer has been accidentally killed during a funeral procession. A funeral is very important, but not important to die over. A funeral procession is a complex activity. Officers need to be briefed and have a plan to deal with the various procedures that need to be implemented to make the procession go smoothly and safely. Motor units that will participate in the procession should be trained in the procedures for stopping traffic, driving ahead to the next intersection and actions to avoid turning traffic.
One of the common factors in these accidents is vehicles turning or making lane changes and the officer is unable to stop or swerve in time to avoid a collision. The procession should move slowly so that the escorting motorcycles can keep up and leap frog ahead without having to drive sixty or seventy miles per hour. The other key is to have enough motor units. Having more units allows them to block off roads without having to hurry back to the front of the line to block off the next street. The leader of the procession and the motor units should practice before the day of the event to insure proper coordination.
The first couple vehicles in the procession should be in radio contact with the motorcycle escort. They should drive slowly so that the escort does not have to race up to the head of the line. A slower procession is also more dignified than racing to the gravesite. Drivers in the procession should be told to stay in line and if they have to leave, to move to the right and stop, wait for the procession to pass and then proceed. Motor units should pass on the left of the procession as they would in a pursuit. Officer safety should attend every funeral; that’s what the SGT Says.