El Paso Police Department Will No Longer Escort Funeral Processions
One of the things you see a lot of in El Paso are police-escorted funeral processions. There are usually a number of officers on motorcycles that prevent drivers not in the funeral procession from cutting through the procession or getting into the procession to cut through red lights. Officers provide traffic control when the procession is going through intersections so that the entire line can get through without having to wait for traffic and red lights. That is all about to change.
There have been a number of accidents involving drivers who tried to cut through funeral processions and ended up injuring, and in one case, killing an El Paso Police officers. Because of those incidents, the police department says they are going to end the practice of escorted funeral processions.
In just the past three weeks, two officers have been seriously injured by drivers who tried to break through funeral processions. Four years ago, an officer escorting a funeral procession was killed by a driver.
The most recent incident involved Officer Daniel Rodriguez. Officer Rodriguez was escorting a funeral on the city's east side last month when he was hit by 41 year old Nicole Pabon who allegedly cut through the procession and ran into Rodriguez' motorcycle. Officer Rodriguez had to undergo surgery and a large number of El Pasoans turned out to donate blood in his honor.
KTSM is reporting that the chief of police Greg Allen has issued a moratorium on the practice of EPPD providing funeral escort services. Beginning this Friday, June 7, there will be no more escorted funeral services. That moratorium will remain in effect while Chief Allen reviews the process of escorted funeral processions. He will be determining if there are any "changes, modifications can be implemented to improve the safety of the escorting officers."
There is already a ban on escorted funeral processions in the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.