SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER, OTHERS REQUESTING RETURN OF POLICE FUNERAL ESCORTS

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By WVUA 23 Contributor Daniel Pinheiro

District 5 Tuscaloosa City School Board Member Erica Grant, along with several funeral home owners and pastors, went to the Tuscaloosa City Council to request the return of police-led funeral escorts in the city.

Grant informed the City Council of an accident that nearly occurred at a funeral with no escort.

“In February at the intersection of 15th Street and MLK Boulevard, a funeral was passing through and lights changed and it nearly caused an eight to 10 car pile-up because the funeral line was still going,” Grant said.  “Some cars stopped and some kept going all four ways.”

The city of Tuscaloosa ceased offering funeral escorts after Tuscaloosa Officer Trevor Phillips died as he escorted a funeral procession on Sept. 23, 2011.

Grant began a petition to convince the city of the need for funeral police escorts.  The petition gathered more 270 signatures.  Last Tuesday, Grant went to the Tuscaloosa Public Safety Committee and showed the petition.

“It was stated that Tuscaloosa was still escorting military police officers and the football team,” Grant noted.  “How can you still escort a football team and not escort a tax-paying citizen that votes for you all to sit in front of us?”

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox disagreed on the importance of city-provided funeral escorts.

“I don’t think any type of escorting is needed quite frankly,” Maddox said.  “I think police officers, they already got enough in their lives not to be placed in that position in my opinion.”

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