Monday, November 9, 2009

Police escorts for funerals

When is the last time you saw a police escort for a funeral in McHenry County?

Normally, the funeral director's vehicle would have a flashing amber light and lead a funeral procession to the cemetery. The lead car approaches traffic lights and stop signs carefully, stopping at red lights. All cars in the procession should have headlamps lighted, and cars behind the funeral director's vehicle are permitted to drive through red lights carefully.

You seldom see a police car in a funeral procession, unless it's a procession for an officer who died in the line of duty.

But this morning there was a funeral procession westbound on U.S. 14, coming from the direction of Crystal Lake and heading in the direction of Harvard. Leading the procession were two police cars; the first one was a marked squad car from the McHenry County Sheriff's Department and the second one was a black-and-white squad car.

Bringing up the rear of the procession was another black-and-white unit and two more squad cars from the McHenry County Sheriff's Department.

My attention was initially attracted by a McHenry County Sheriff's Department squad car stopped on the shoulder of U.S. 14, just east of Route 47. There was no violator stopped in front of it, and the car was stopped as if the driver were waiting for someone or something.

As the procession went westbound between Route 14 and Dean Street, drivers of eastbound cars on Route 14 pulled over and stopped, when they saw the the emergency lights of the approaching westbound squad cars. Even though drivers are not required to pull over and stopped, unless necessary to allow an emergency vehicle to pass safely, they do it anyway.

Several issues came to mind. Why were there five marked police cars in a funeral procession? Was the deceased a person with some important relationship to the Sheriff's Department?

Why were all five police cars using emergency lights? Is the use of emergency lights in a funeral procession even authorized?

Why were there three McHenry County Sheriff's Department vehicles in the procession? Presumably they were occupied by employees of the Sheriff's Department.

Were these employees who had a working relationship with the deceased that warranted use of County vehicles in a funeral procession? Or were they friends of the deceased? And if friends, should they not have been off-duty and in their own personal vehicles?
video

24 comments:

Ellen said...

Good job!

MindlessWizard said...

Frank,
The two black and white cars seem to be Harvard PD cars. One of their officers mothers just passed away this past week. Cary PD also has an officer that is the son of the deceased. I find it very honorable that the MCSO and HPD sent squad cars to assist the procession from Crystal Lake to the funeral this morning in Harvard. It shows that the entire county has each others backs on times in need. If you feel that this is out of line, you really have no heart what so ever.

Whitmore2 said...

I'm sorry, Gus, but I agree with MindlessWizard on this one. Don't be so quick to judge before you know the whole story. This was a tragic story.

ace said...

You have an unhealthy obsession of wanting to be the center of attention. Get yourself checked out immediately, you are by no means qualified to run anything, including the MCSD.

Karen12359 said...

My father didn't know anyone on the police force, and had police escorts on the drive from the funeral home to the cemetary in Woodstock ... and we all slowly drove through red lights ... I felt honored that they did that for us.

Gus said...

Whitmore2, I understand that it is a tragic story. And certain parts of it are "news", but it's not being reported. I have pieces of it but am having difficulty in confirming it, so am not printing it.

joe said...

How is this news for you Gus and why do you think everything you see is newsworthy.Once again, police agencies try to do something decent and you find fault. Over and over you "report" and I use that word loosely, only a smalportion of anything factual. ACE is right you would be lucky if you could run anything and certanly not a police department. Most departments in this county would have you for lunch

MindlessWizard said...

I for one know the story too Frank. I would hope, sincerly hope that you would not consider it news at all. If that were the case, you have lost it, completely. Please let this topic just ride off into the sunset. Very sad story and for you to be making a mockery of it is pure sick!

Gus said...

MW, there is nothing I have written that can be considered a mockery here.

But the tragedy of Mrs. Lorenz' passing was not the purpose of the story about so many McHenry County Sheriff's vehicles in the funeral procession.

Maybe there is an explanation for the assignment of manpower and vehicles for that procession. So far, I can't think of a valid law enforcement reason.

MindlessWizard said...

Who cares???? Just you Frank, your the only one making a stink about this. A mother of two decorated police officers in our county passed away. The departments, MCSO, Harvard, Cary or whomever were simply showing their respect. Get over it pal! You've gone off the deep end with this story...

Gus said...

Mindless, somebody told me once that it's a lot more polite to say to someone, "I wish you were right" than to say, "You're wrong."
So, I wish you were right.

Your reasoning has no logic to it.

Whitmore2 said...

Does the fact that she was a Flight for Life nurse and may have worked with several of the local police departments add credibility to the police presence at the funeral?

Ellen said...

I think the whole point of this particular story has gotten lost. The feelings need to be set aside because that is not what it is about. I'm pretty sure the point Gus was trying to make, was what is the criteria one must meet to have a police escort for a funeral? Is there any? or, whose discretion is it up to? After all, it is taxpayers money that pays for the officer's time (if they were in pay status) and vehicles. Even if they were not in pay status, the vehicles were not privately owned. Can any government employee have the escort? What about the guy who owns the family store? do you just have to ask the right person? Who decides, and what is their criteria? That is the only question that needs answering, plain and simple. The extenuating circumstances that led up to the funeral procession are irrelevant.

Gus said...

Tried to find the section in the Illinois Vehicle Code that permits the use of emergency lights on police cars in a funeral procession. Thought it might be there, because of the impact such use has on other traffic on the roadway.

What section of the IVC allows this use, when no emergency exists?

MindlessWizard said...

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/96/SB/09600SB1833enr.htm

Very last one will help a bit...

The Madd Bulldog said...

Somebody who had some ties to the Police and/or Sheriff's dept died. So, there were some squad cars providing escort... because they could as there were no other issues they had to attend to at that time.
So what's the bigg f-n deal you're trying to make out of this??? Are you just trying to drum up a story, punk?
Stick to the stories that really matter...

Gus said...

Thanks for the suggestion, but how so?

The last section reads, "(f) In the absence of law enforcement traffic control assistance for a funeral procession, a funeral director or his or her designee may direct traffic during a funeral procession."

Do you think the drivers of the squad cars with the emergency lights operating were controlling or directing traffic as they drove west on U.S. 14?

MindlessWizard said...

Yes they were. Looked like it from the spy video you took :)

Gus said...

Say, Bulldog, feeling a little rabid this morning?

But maybe you are closer to the truth than you think. Or do you know?

"Somebody who had some ties to the Police and/or Sheriff's dept died."

Were there ties? What kind of ties would have existed, if any, that would result in manpower and three (four?) vehicles from the McHenry County Sheriff's Department in a funeral procession?

MindlessWizard said...

Thats already been discussed. The deceased was a mother of a Harvard cop and a Cary cop. Both of whom are on the McHenry County Gang task force. A division of the McHenry Co. Sheriffs Office. There, there is your connection! Now get over it! Move on with your life Frank!

joe said...

gus, were you really secreted in the bushes to be able to take that video. One of your malcontent buddies must have given you the big tip on the funeral escort.. how sad you are and how pathetic. You really should get a job!

Gus said...

Secreted? Oh, yeah. I just parked legally on the shoulder of the road in my "basic undercover car" that no one in the county would recognize. You know how red just blends right in with the Fall colors?

In a year I'm going to have a great job.

joe said...

Why, is Burger King hiring next year or do you still experience the fantasy of being sheriff

Gus said...

joe, either way I'll get it my way.

Hey, you just gave me a great idea. Out of $90/day/detainee, maybe they'll get Whoppers once or twice a month.