Seattle Halts Cop-Escorted Funeral Processions


Seattle church leaders and funeral directors were caught off guard when Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske abruptly withdrew his permission for motorcycle escorts during funeral processions, effectively ending an age-old tradition, says the Seattle Times. An outcry from churches has police officials reconsidering their stance. No funeral processions are being held within city limits right now as a result of the chief’s decision.

Deputy Police Chief John Diaz said safety concerns motivated the chief’s decision. Two off-duty firefighters have been killed in recent years while working as funeral-procession escorts. Many people who work as funeral escorts are off-duty police or firefighters. “I know we come across looking like the bad guys, but we’re looking for a safer way to get a funeral procession from Point A to Point B without getting somebody hurt or killed,” Diaz said. “I think everybody is motivated to see things fixed, and I do believe we’re going to be able to come up with some workable protocol.”


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