Citing a budget crunch and reduced manpower, Detroit police are ending the longstanding practice of providing free escorts for funeral processions, the Detroit News reports. Detroit is one of the few big cities that still provides free escorts for funerals. Police Chief Ralph Godbee called the courtesy a “resource drain” and said it’s unfair for officers to accompany some processions and not others.
Once a common custom, police escorts for funerals are becoming less frequent in Michigan, which has lost more than 2,000 police officers in the past decade, said Phil Douma, director of the Michigan Funeral Directors Association. “Most police departments provide escorts based on the availability of officers, and our members are seeing that there just aren’t as many officers available as there used to be,” said Douma. Budget-conscious, manpower-strapped police departments have ended funeral accompaniments. Atlanta, Miami, Minneapolis, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles are among cities that have stopped providing escorts in recent years, except for funerals of police officers, firefighters, or soldiers killed in battle.