Policy: Honor Guard

PURPOSE

The purpose of this document is to identify procedures addressing funeral type classification and ceremonial sequence to properly honor members of the Michigan State University Police Department (Department) at the time of their death.

POLICY

It is the policy of this Department that appropriate honors be rendered to those officers who are: killed in the line of duty at the Department, die while on active duty status at the Department, are a Department retiree in good-standing, and honoring other agencies’ officers killed in the line of duty. Additionally, proper flag techniques will be outlined to ensure compliance with federal law.

DEFINITIONS

Active-Duty Death (ADD)

The death of an actively employed sworn officer resulting from illness, accident, injury, or natural causes not related to any performance of duty or police action.

Casket Watch

Casket Watch consists of two officers deployed with one officer at the head of the casket and the other officer at the foot of the casket to stand watch for a period of 10-15 minutes.

The number of officers used may vary depending upon the death classification type.

Classifications of Employees

Sworn: Those who have been sworn-in under Michigan law or similar to protect and serve the community.

Dignitaries: Current Board of Trustees members, the current University President, the current University Provost, and any others deemed appropriate at the request of the Chief of Police (Chief) or the MSU President.

Retired: Those honorably retired from sworn Department service, following Michigan State University’s guidelines.

Separated: Those who have left employment of an agency and whose welfare and whereabouts are of general interest to the Department or its employees.

Full-time civilian Department employees, at the request of the Chief or designee.

Color Guard

A five or more-member unit consisting of at least three flag bearers and two rifle bearers, with options for other flags depending on the specific event.

The color guard will carry the colors of the United States, the State of Michigan, and potentially the Department flag or any other designated flag relating to the event.

Colors

A United States flag, with the presentation of such depending on the funeral level.

Escort

The funeral coach shall be escorted by Department uniform officers from the entrance of the cemetery to the grave site.

The number of officers escorting will be determined by the funeral level services provided.

Firing Party

An eight-member unit consisting of seven rifle bearers and one commander.

The firing party should consist solely of members of the Department, unless the event specifies otherwise (i.e., multi-agency funeral, etc).

Flag Folding Detail

An eight-member unit charged with removing and folding the internment flag at gravesite, if applicable.

This unit may consist of a multi-agency Honor Guard.

Funeral Service Program (Level I only)

Printed brochure-type booklet of 4-8 pages depicting information about the deceased officer, order of service, religious liturgy, eulogy, poem, etc.

Must be approved by the family and the minister officiating at the services prior to being printed and handed out to those attending.

Garrison Flag

A United States Flag measuring 20’ x 40’ (or larger) hoisted across the processional route by two aerial fire trucks.

The blue field should be toward the north.

No traffic should be allowed to drive under the flag except for the funeral procession.

Honor Guard

An undetermined number of specially-trained and/or uniform members (multi-agency) who are responsible for performing a variety of duties throughout the visitation and funeral process.

Interment Flag

A 5’ x 9 ½’ cotton United States flag provided by the Department and at the Department’s expense.

Line-of-Duty Death (LODD)

The death of an active duty officer by felonious or accidental means during the course of performing law enforcement duties.

Survivors

Family members of the deceased to include spouse, fiancée, significant other, children, parents and siblings.

PROCEDURES

General Information

The Department will offer the pre-identified honors for each category of death.

Every effort should be made to obtain the materials and services needed for these honors “in kind” or by donation so that there will be little or no cost to the Department.

If there is any cost incurred for these honors, they will be the responsibility of the Department and may not be passed on to the survivors.

The survivors of the deceased will be responsible for the cost of the funeral home and church services, embalming, cremation, casket/urn, cemetery space, grave marker, family transportation and housing, etc.

In the instance of cremation or similar circumstances, gravesite service may not be provided at the survivor’s request.

Funeral Categories

Level I: Line-of-Duty Death (LODD) of a sworn Department employee that is commonly referred to as “Full Honors.”

LODD procedures found in ADM14 will be followed.

Casket Watch: Two Guards are to be utilized at the head and foot of the casket.

Colors

The casket shall be draped with a United States flag

At the appropriate point during the rendering of honors, the Color will be folded and presented to the survivors, as directed by the Chief or designee.

Motorcade (weather dependent)

Escort consisting of eight (8) officers.

Color Guard

Four (4) or five (5) positions that:

Are posted and rendering honor anytime the casket is moved.

Will take part in the procession into the cemetery.

Bag Pipes (if desired)

Firing Party consists of seven (7) positions firing three (3) volleys.

Taps

Uniform of the Day

Honor Guard Personnel shall wear the Honor Guard Dress Uniform with the Thin Blue Line Cords and Thin Blue Line mourning band.

Non-Honor Guard Sworn Personnel shall wear a Class A Uniform with Garrison hat, tie, and black mourning band.

Funeral Staffing Details

It will be necessary to solicit the assistance of neighboring Honor Guards or the Sheriffs & Municipal Memorial Assistance Response Team (SMMART) to assist with Details for a Level I funeral.

It is also acceptable and recommended to utilize non-Honor Guard Department members for some Details.

Level II: Active Duty Death

Current sworn members of the Department as defined in this policy.

Off duty deaths meeting the guidelines announced by the Chief.

Casket Watch: Two Guards will be utilized at the head and foot of the casket.

Colors

A folded United States flag will be displayed adjacent to the head of the casket, in accordance with federal flag laws.

A Color Guard will carry the Color to the gravesite and make the presentation to a survivor.

Motorcade (weather dependent)

Escort: Four (4) or six (6) officers.

Firing Party: Three (3) or five (5) positions sending three (3) volleys.

Taps

Uniform of the Day

Honor Guard Personnel shall wear the Honor Guard Dress Uniform with Silver Cords and Thin Blue Line mourning band.

Non-Honor Guard Sworn Personnel shall wear a Class A Uniform with Garrison hat, tie, and black mourning band.

Funeral Staffing Details

It is acceptable to solicit the assistance of neighboring Honor Guards to assist with Details for a Level II funeral.

It is also acceptable to utilize non-Honor Guard Department members for some Details.

Level III: Dignitaries Funeral

Deceased persons must meet the definitions in this policy, or any others deemed appropriate at the request of the Chief or the MSU President.

Casket Watch: One (1) officeris to be utilized at the foot of the casket.

Escort: Four (4) officers.

Uniform of the Day for Honor Guard Personnel shall be the Honor Guard Dress Uniform with Silver Cords.

Level IV: Retiree Funeral

Deceased must meet the definitions found in this policy and it is subject to the approval of the Chief.

Casket Watch: One (1) officer is to be utilized at the head of the casket.

Colors: Folded and displayed adjacent to the head of the casket.

Escort: Four (4) officers.

Uniform of the Day for Honor Guard Personnel shall be the Honor Guard Dress Uniform with Silver Cords.

Level V: Funeral of an Officer from Another Agency

With the Chief’s permission, the Department will send a minimum of two (2) Honor Guard members to every funeral involving a Michigan officer’s LODD.

For LODD occurring outside the state of Michigan, the Department will send Honor Guard member(s) at the discretion of the Chief.

If the total time of the funeral and transportation to and from is greater than twelve (12) hours, officers assigned may seek lodging at the expense of the Department.

Any expenses incurred for travel, i.e. tolls; will be paid for by the Department.

The Department will reimburse the assigned officers using University per diem pay for overnight stay and meals.

If staffing allows, the Department may offer assistance in staffing funeral Details conducted on the day of the funeral, as a professional courtesy to the affected department.

Proper Flag Procedures

These procedures are outlined for the purpose of the United States flag displayed in front of the Department.

The Duty Supervisor is responsible for raising and lowering the flag in front of the Department.

Pursuant to current federal law, certain procedures shall be followed to render proper honors on specified days, as well as being within compliance of that federal law.

The flag shall be lowered slowly and ceremoniously, but raised briskly.

The flag shall never be lowered without being raised to the top of the pole prior to being lowered.

A salute should be rendered to the flag before and after raising/lowering the flag.

There are currently four specific occasions on which the flag of the United States is flown at half-staff, or at the midway point of the staff of the pole to which it is attached:

Memorial Day (only until noon)

Peace Officers Memorial Day (unless that day is also Armed Forces Day)

At the direction of the President of the United States

At the direction of the Governor for the State of Michigan