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Wednesday, 08 March 2017 13:56

Rarely enforced ordinance takes veterans' groups by surprise

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Veterans' group salute Veterans' group salute File photo

BELOIT -- City officials are working to quell a dispute over 21-gun salutes following a packed city council meeting last Monday, March 6, 2017.

 Beloit Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2306 honor guard commander Steve Mayfield told WISC-TV that the conflict started when the Beloit Police Department asked the group not to fire the traditional rifle volleys near a highway at a recent funeral.

 “We have fired at churches and funeral homes all across the city, and there’s never been an issue,” Mayfield said.

 A post on the city’s Facebook page said the ordinance requires approval and coordination with the police department for other locations to ensure public safety issues like traffic safety and notification of residents are managed.

 If a requested location is problematic, alternative locations are always recommended, according to the city.

Police Chief David Zibolski met with local funeral directors, the VFW, American Legion and Marine Corps League to discuss ways to continue honoring our veterans while meeting public safety needs.

The meeting established protocols for notification of final salutes to both the public and the police department within the current ordinance, according to Zibolski.

Future discussions will occur regarding the existing language of the ordinance as it relates to cremations and final ceremonies versus traditional burial for our veterans.

Zibolski said he had spoken with a other law enforcement leaders and many of them were unaware of these ceremonies taking place in neighborhood locations as well.

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