Sharp said the city will provide escorts, but funeral homes must contact police one day before the funeral. Only one funeral may be booked per hour, he said. An escorted procession can only contain 15 vehicles, including funeral home vehicles. Escorts are not guaranteed and will be provided on the availability of officers and the call volume at the time.
Sharp said funeral homes can hire additional officers for special escorts, with a minimum of two for larger processions.
Steve Chenault, manager of Elkins Funeral Home in Florence, said they have to use escorts when a graveside service follows a funeral.
"We always get help from the Florence Police Department," Chenault said. "We are just very appreciative of the fine job that the Florence Police Department does and does without cost or charge."
Chenault said there have been occasions where a car in an adjoining lane will come through a procession to get to another lane.
"In my judgment, all of those things are done because the driver is not paying attention, rather than being any lack of respect," Chenault said. "We have had comments from out-of-town families about how respectful the other drivers were on the roads we were traveling."
Even though it is not required, Chenault frequently sees drivers even in the opposite lanes pull off the road as a sign of respect.
"We are still living in a very traditional and respectful part of the country," he said.
Florence police Capt. Rolando Bogran agreed and said he has not noticed an intentional lack of respect or disregard for funeral processions.
"What we have noticed is that if we don't have a police vehicle at the tail end, sometimes drivers attempt to pass the last vehicle in the procession," Bogran said. "We believe this is simply because (drivers) aren't aware the vehicle is part of the procession."