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article imageDetroit police to end free funeral escorts

By Cynthia Trowbridge     Dec 7, 2011 in World
Detroit - The long tradition of the Detroit Police Department providing a police escort for funerals is coming to an end. "Giving free escorts is something we just can't afford to continue," the police chief said.
Detroit is one of the last major cities in the U.S. to provide free escorts for funerals.
According to Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee, due to the budget crunch and reduced manpower they will end the practice of escorting funerals for free.
Godbee calls the practice a "resource drain" and also it is unfair to provide the service for some funerals and not others.
The detnews.com quotes Godbee said, "It's our intent to talk to funeral directors about adding the cost of escorts to funerals, instead of it being favoritism as to who gets an escort and who doesn't."
Phil Douma, director of the Michigan Funeral Directors Association said police escorts in Michigan are not common in Michigan like they once were. Over the last decade Michigan has lost more than 2,000 police officers.
Other major cities that have dropped providing free escorts are Atlanta, Miami, Minneapolis, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
Police escort is still provided free for funerals of police officers, firefighters or soldiers killed in battle.
Detroit.cbslocal.com writes Godbee is planning on talking to funeral homes about adding the cost of a police escort to the price of the funeral for those who want the service.
Last year the Secondary Employment program began. This allowed off-duty Detroit officers to moonlight as security guards. This program might allow the off-duty officers to escort funeral processions.
Godbee said, "There are a number of options we will explore. But giving free escorts is something we just can't afford to continue," writes det.news.com.
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