Oklahoma City Police Announce Discontinuation Of Funeral Escorts

Citing safety concerns, the Oklahoma City Police Department announced officers will no longer escort funeral services throughout the city.

Tuesday, October 31st 2023, 10:00 am



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Oklahoma City Police announced starting Oct. 17, the department will no longer escort funeral services throughout the city.

The department said the main concern is the safety of its officers, but there is pushback from officers who say they want to continue the escorts.

"The thing is about escorts you never know how important something is until it stops," John Ireland from Ireland & Son Funeral Services said. "People are coming up to the officers and thanking them, whether dad was a farmer for 50 years or maybe they retired from Tinker Air Force Base, they think it is a real tribute to a loved one having them escorted to the cemetery by the police."

Mark Nelson, the president of the Oklahoma City chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, said he agrees with what Ireland said.

"The professional officers who do this on a daily basis with funeral homes around the city, some of them bring in a lot of money and supplement their income to the tune of $20,000 dollars," Nelson said. ""We think there is a way to accomplish funeral escorts and just do them more safely, or in a different manner, rather than just abolishing them altogether."

However, those behind the effort to discontinue the practice said it is better for the officers to end it, but not without leaving funeral service companies an alternative.

"We have always felt like this is a huge safety risk," OCPD Maj. Dan Stewart said. "We have been in touch with some funeral services... to work with them to see what solutions are out there for them. It is just not going to be police officers doing those escorts."

Stewart said the department has not have any major accidents, but they have had minor accidents.

After Oct. 17, the only exceptions for escorts are for fallen officers or first responders and other high-profile situations.

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