Insuring Our Police

imagesThe following is a proposal from the Minneapolis-based Committee for Professional Policing. It bears strong consideration as we move forward to rebuild police trust and support.

[See also the local news article on this proposal HERE.]

The Case for Professional Liability Insurance for Police

“Our amendment would require police officers to purchase their own professional liability insurance but would allow the city to pay the base rate for that insurance if the city council chooses.  However, any additional premium due to the number of complaints or lawsuits against the officer would be paid by that officer.

“The wording of our amendment is below.  The words in italics are the our proposed changes.

“We, the undersigned, petition the City of Minneapolis Charter Commission to implement/amend the City Charter to read as follows:

Section 7.3(a)(2) Police Officers. Each peace officer appointed in the police department must be licensed as required by law.  Each such licensed officer may exercise any lawful power that a peace officer enjoys at common law or by general or special law, and may execute a warrant anywhere in the county.

Each appointed police officer must provide proof of professional liability insurance coverage in the amount consistent with current limits under the statutory immunity provision of state law and must maintain continuous coverage throughout the course of employment as a police officer with the city.  Such insurance must be the primary insurance for the officer and must include coverage for willful or malicious acts and acts outside the scope of the officer’s employment by the city.  If the City Council desires, the city may reimburse officers for the base rate of this coverage but officers must be responsible for any additional costs due to personal or claims history.  The city may not indemnify police officers against liability in any amount greater than required by State Statute unless the officer’s insurance is exhausted.  This amendment shall take effect one year after passage.

Understanding the Amendment

“It’s a simple concept, really–cops who engage in misconduct will have to pay for the additional premiums out of pocket.  Some will eventually become uninsurable.  An effective risk management strategy will be put into place and we will finally be able to do something about the cops who engage in misconduct over and over.

“We consulted with many stakeholders as we developed the wording for this amendment.  We asked these questions as we worked with insurance professionals, attorneys and others: Does this comply with Minnesota laws? Will this help and not hurt victims of police brutality and the attorneys who represent them? Will this help and not hurt good cops who don’t engage in misconduct? Does this leave any wiggle room for the city not to enforce it?  We only went forward with our proposal when we were satisfied with the answers to these questions.

“For more specifics on the mechanics of the amendment, please read CUAPB’s Position Paper on Police Professional Liability Insurance, and read the FAQ.

Visit their website HERE.

  • Seeing that only a small number of police are responsible for illegal use of force and, therefore, drive municipal liability payments, why doesn’t a city provide basic insurance coverage gratis to every police officer but require those who abuse citizens to pay for additional premiums — just like bad drivers pay more for their insurance, why not police?