Issues on a Funeral Procession
On January 31, 2009, I was forced off Old Connecticut Path by a long funeral procession being led by the Framingham police. Needless to say, I was offended.

I sent an email to our police chief, Steven B. Carl asking several questions and received a detailed response which was pretty much what I expected the response to be. Click on the images to enlargen them.

I'd like to make a few points about this.

  1. First he claims this is a frivolous request.

    Here I have to ask, what is the police doing in the funeral procession business. They are hired for law enforcement. They were not hired to be in funeral processions or authorized by state law to be in such a business. While it may be a feel-good service, it is not in the purview of law enforcement. Our police chief uses a rather creative interpetation of MGL 272-42 to rationalize this side business of the Framingham police department.

    What's to prevent the fire department from getting into this business? ...besides the police monopoly?

    This is like the Parks and Recreation department running their little day care facility/school . What are they doing in that business? Can the Town Clerk also do this? How about DPW?

  2. If the town provides a service at taxpayers expense, it should utilized by all taxpayers and not just a very few taxpayers, but our police chief doesn't really understand this fundamental concept. He actually believes it's just for a few select individuals. He should stop treating the taxpayers in Framingham like a personal ATM machine.

    Steven Carl is doing exactly what the Framingham library did when they closed the library to taxpayers for several hours so that they could entertain their friends.

  3. Our police chief has made the effort to write a don't ask, don't tell sanctuary policy on illegal immigration. Thus, he refuses to enforce US immigration law but he is willing to commit resources on funeral processions. If you add in all the time the police spend on police details, it becomes apparent that his staff seems underemployed and has plenty of time on their hands.

  4. Since it is not in the purview of law enforcement, it should provided as a fee based service should someone request it at the same hourly rates as any detail assignment. It should not be free (paid for by the taxpayers).

    In this case, the service is being provided for the mother of a town employee who happens to be a Framingham taxpayer. I am not sure if the town employee himself (a police officer) is a Framingham resident and taxpayer. I should have asked if the service is provided to town employees who are not residents of Framingham. I'd like to make sure that Mr. Carl not forget that his department is funded by Framingham taxpayers and this is not his money to spend as he so wishes.

    In this case, three Framingham officers were involved while they were being paid to provide law enforcement duties to the taxpayers.

  5. I can understand giving the right of way to a funeral procession even if I don't think too much about the worthiness of funerals, but being forced off the road by a leapfrogging police officer (who more than likely increases the probability of an accident) is rather repugnant and does not fall under the MGL 272-42 as Mr. Carl states. Taking up both lanes of a two lane road is simply abuse of police authority here. Turning on the blue flashing lights in this case does not create an emergency.

  6. What I neglected to ask was whether it would be done if the funeral was far outside of Framingham.... say 20 miles away or whether its only applicable to funerals within Framingham. Obviously, any Framingham police authority disappears by the border. The officers would be removed from Framingham for quite some time in case a police emergency came up.

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