Friday, July 22, 2011

Funeral Deaths

At least twice in recent months, officers who have been working police officer funerals have been killed during the funeral. This is a double tragedy because you have an officer who has died and during his funeral a second officer gets killed. One officer death becomes two officer deaths.

Typically when a funeral procession is moving from one site to another, motorcycle officers will provide an escort to the procession. The motorcycle officers will block all cross traffic that intersect the procession route. Officers will leap frog one another as the procession clears one intersection, the motorcycle unit released from that intersection will race ahead and block the next intersection.

Motorcycle police officer is an inherently dangerous job. There are several factors to consider with funeral escort. Have enough officers to perform the detail without causing them to have to hurry. One of the common factors in these deaths is the officers are hit by other vehicles. Consider having local agencies block their own streets with their own on duty units if possible. Review the need to drive safely with your motor units prior to deployment. Make certain they have their emergency lights on and maintain a safe distance from traffic that they have to pass on the left. Remind them to watch out for vehicles making turning movements and leave enough space and time to stop or get out of the way. Advise those leading the procession to not go too fast for the motor officers to block the route. Even if they have to slow to a crawl or even stop it’s better than having an officer get killed trying to outrun the procession. A police vehicle in radio communication with the escorting motors should lead the procession. Officer safety is a constant, even during funerals, that’s what the SGT Says.

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