Procession protocol for police officers in motorcades

MONROE, OH (FOX19) - The job, which Officer Roy Sims was doing at the time of his death, is a dangerous one.

It is a job which requires a lot of coordination. This was certainly the last thing anyone would ever imagine could happen during a funeral motorcade.

From the police men and women on the motorcycles, to the officers directing traffic, to the funeral directors driving the hearse, everyone follows a very well-rehearsed plan.

Even as we caught a motorcycle speeding north on I-75.

"He's doing 72," said Sergeant Paul Lezotte with the Ohio State Highway Patrol. The bike was clocked at nearly 15 miles above the speed limit.

"I mean as quick as you pull the trigger," Lezotte said aiming his laser at several vehicles from our location inside the northbound rest area just south of Monroe. "You can see that car slowing down, we got like four speeds there in three seconds."

Imagine what it takes to control even bigger, heavier bikes, in a rigid formation, part of a formal or solemn procession.

"How difficult is it for everybody involved to stay together?," we asked.

"Well, the main thing is our officer's safety and motorcycles tend to be a little bit harder to see," Sgt. Lezotte said.

Sergeant Lezotte said it all boils down to communication.

"They have a briefing before every detail, if they're involved in the motorcade or procession, so all of the participants involved have an idea of the protocol and where the motorcycles will be," he said.

The guide motorcycles interact super-closely with a hearse and the officers riding them are in constant contact with each other through their headsets.

"I mean, it is dangerous," Lezotte said. "But our officers are highly trained, I know they just completed an extensive 40-hour training up in Canada, specifically for VIP motorcades or processions they may be involved with."

They make it look easy, but it's a dangerous dance when you consider how heavy those bikes are.

"I think with all the equipment on there, most of the motorcycles the Highway Patrol uses, which are the Harley Davidsons," Lezotte said. "They're about 850 to 900 pounds."

Men and women who are part of these special event motorcades get re-certified every year.

"They have special training in the Spring before they get on the motorcycles," he said. "They work together a lot, they train together a lot, so they know when to go left, when to go right, and who's doing what."

Sergeant Lezotte said especially now with the hotter weather, there are more motorcycles on the roadways.

He urges people to keep an eye out for them and for law enforcement. Despite the flashing blue lights on their bikes, they are still a lot tougher to spot in an instant, than a police car.

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