STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - When a funeral procession passes, you expect to see a police officer or two blocking intersections so those attending can follow the hearse to the cemetery.
That police service is usually complimentary. That's changing in Statesboro.
Few things bring out the emotions of the death and funeral of a loved one. Last month, Statesboro Police met with local funeral homes and explained they no longer had the staff to dedicate two, three or four shift officers to block intersections for a funeral procession.
If requested, they have to ask off-duty officers to do it and the department would start billing funeral homes $90 per off-duty officer used and the number would depend on the route.
This has sparked a lot of discussion of whether this is the end of small town traditions or if it's an unnecessary expense to the city.
I contacted the city and the police department. They deferred speaking on camera until after a city council meeting Tuesday night where this will be discussed. I'll be there and we'll let you know what happens.
Statesboro PD provided traffic assistance for 249 funerals over the past 14 months. If funeral homes ask for traffic assistance now, they'll be billed $30 per hour per off-duty officer with a three-hour minimum (roughly $90 per officer).
Bulloch County Sheriff's Office has stated they would continue to escort/assist funeral processions at no charge.