Push to restart police involvement in Tuscaloosa funeral processions

Petition for funeral police escorts in Tuscaloosa

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Danny Steele hopes in the future, Tuscaloosa police will help make sure people arrive to gravesites on time and safely.

“I think we’re putting the citizens at risk if we don’t reinstate the police escort funerals,” Steele explained Thursday.

Steele, co-owner of Van Hoose and Steele Funeral Home, went before city councilors Tuesday and requested they authorize police to escort funeral processions as in years past.

Tuscaloosa Police Chief Brent Blankley does not want officers involved in funeral processions. In a statement to WBRC, Chief Brent Blankley said, “I’m against resuming funeral escorts for the same reasons we stopped doing them in 2011, for the safety of our officers. We’ve lost one officer’s life to this and that’s far too many.”

Steele wants things as safe as possible for those traveling to pay their final respects. “Even if we tell them to obey all the traffic laws, once we get to a traffic light we try to time it where everybody can get through. But even during that, people still go through the lights and it’s a risk,” Steele continued.

The city council did not take any action during this week’s public safety committee meeting. Steele asked them to also consider letting off duty officers provide the service or a private escort service.

Copyright 2020 WBRC. All rights reserved.