Kirksville police put brakes on funeral escorts

Police escorts of funeral processions in Kirksville have been a long-running tradition, but they have been halted, at least temporarily.

A car crash in late January is what prompted the move.

Kirksville police said a funeral procession was making its way through a red light on Baltimore Street, when a car coming off a side street saw it had a green light and struck a vehicle in the funeral procession.

"There was an accident not too long ago that's alleged to have had some kind of an attachment to a funeral procession, so we thought, 'Hey, this is a good time, let's just take a step back and see where we're at and if there's anything we need to do or whether we just need to stop doing them completely,'" said Kirksville Police Chief Jim Hughes.

Police escorting funeral processions all boils down to an issue of liability for the city.

"It really [comes] down to a very, very good public service and then just staffing issues, and then perhaps out of those staffing issues come some safety concerns, and trying to balance those things," said Hughes.

Hughes said KPD escorts of local funeral processions were halted last week.

He told KTVO he is not sure when a decision will be made about whether to permanently put the brakes on the escorts.