Police Accountability: A New Way?

covey     Here is a novel and very creative idea to approach the problem of bad policing which can cost a city millions of taxpayer dollars every year.

TWENTY MILLION DOLLARS!

     That’s the cost of police brutality to Minneapolis taxpayers over the past seven years.  $4.7 million in 2011 alone.

These payouts by the city are for cases won by plaintiffs or settled out of court for misconduct by police officers. Most cities will fall in about the same parameters. Misconduct by police takes away tax dollars from funding more important, and preventative programs.

The way it works is that your city uses your tax dollars to pay for all settlements and damages for lawsuits filed against officers on your police department. This doesn’t sound like good public policy. Taxpayers should not have to keep paying out huge settlements when their city’s police officers are found liable for misconduct.

Most medical practitioners have to purchase malpractice insurance and the Committee for Professional Policing in Minneapolis believes police officers should be required to carry professional liability insurance as a condition of employment.   While city politics may hinder city officials from holding police officer to be accountable. Whereas, an insurance company that’s on the hook for police misconduct payouts will have no problem doing so.  Problem officers who continue to violate the law would soon find their insurance rates going up. If they don’t change their behavior, they will eventually become uninsurable and looking for another career.

I find this proposal interesting. Follow the link below [CLICK HERE] and find out more about the committee’s proposal.

And, of course, what do you think of this idea?

16 Comments

  1. Interesting idea. An unpleasant downstream effect could be officers with higher premiums claiming that they couldn’t afford to get involved in certain incidents due to the potential liability. Although I suppose you could make officers with premiums above a certain rate transfer to desk jobs or undergo specific training. I also think that this would lead to even reclassification of incidents and events to avoid raising a fellow officer’s premiums, which would provide an even greater incentive to skew data. Which would perversely increase the incentive to play ball on a coverup.

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  2. What an interesting idea. If this passes, I would love to the the insurance agent that gets the commission on all those new policies. I believe the true professional police officers would appreciate the extra personal protection a policy like this would provide even if it takes a little money out of their pocket. It might be the questionable police officers that scream and yell the most about this proposal, because they know they would have to pay the most. How about an equivalent of a “Safe Driver” discount? For every year you make it without a citizen complaint you get an extra 10% off your premium. Perhaps that would help generate better customer service. I also wonder if it would encourage more personal lawsuits against officers because the liability insurance may be seen as a “Deep Pocket.” Hmmmm…. Very interesting. I

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  3. As one of the authors of this proposal, we have included a provision that allows the city to fund the base rate of the insurance with police officers paying additional premiums based on claims/complaint experience. Much like bad drivers pay more for their car insurance, miscreant police officers would eventually be priced out of the market or become uninsurable.

    This measure is necessary because our city (Minneapolis) is self-insured for police misconduct judgments and settlements. City officials are only too happy to give away taxpayer money rather than stand up to the cops. As a homeowner, I’m frankly sick of it and look forward to an insurance company applying a real risk management strategy to reducing police abuse.

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  4. This is an idea whose time has come! Qualified immunity protection for police fosters a feeling of invincibility, in my opinion. Taxpayers should not continue to be penalized for the misdeeds of these officers. This could really shake things up. Authentic police accountability boards (with subpoena power; not just “advisory” boards) would also help.

    Another plus would be that this would be another step towards treating police like professionals. If you add more robust educational requirements for recruits and system of professional disbarment for criminals in the ranks, things could look a lot different for the next generation of police.

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  5. Accountability of police! I think this a feasible option as medical, dental and other professionals need malpractice insurance in order to practice. It will relief a lot of the cost on taxpayers and help fund important social projects improving communities! We as citizens are liable for our actions positive or negative and it makes sence in improving police accountability will have a positive outcome!

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