Police officers frequently face a certain degree of risk and liability by protecting their communities and enforcing the law. Therefore, policemen and other law enforcement officials (e.g. federal agents) should purchase police professional liability insurance to protect themselves from potential legal fees. It is especially critical to have liability protection given the ongoing national conversation about police brutality against racial and ethnic minorities.
What Is Professional Liability Insurance?
In a general sense, professional liability insurance shields professionals from claims of negligence, misrepresentation, and malpractice. With regards to police officers, this form of indemnity insurance will protect these officials from several risks and liabilities they face while performing their duties. A police liability insurance policy covers claims arising from actions that may be considered “wrongful.” Specifically, it can help cover damages resulting from property damage, bodily injury, or personal injury. In the event that a police officer is sued, a liability insurance policy would also cover the ensuing legal fees.
Advantages Of Police Professional Liability Insurance
There are three primary benefits to police officers and other law enforcement officials acquiring professional liability insurance: improvements in the handling of police misconduct cases, increased action in civil litigation, and the development of trust between officers and people of color. Here is a close look at each of these reasons.
Improved Handling Of Police Misconduct
When an incident of alleged police misconduct occurs, a professional liability insurance policy can help officials more clearly determine which charges to bring against the officer in question. According to Deborah Ramirez, a law professor at Northeastern University, making police liability insurance mandatory would help hold officers accountable in cases of misconduct.
“Officers who engage in reckless or dangerous behavior can be priced out of policing by high premiums that reflect the actual risk that they pose to us,” Ramirez said in an NPR interview last year, using an analogy of repeatedly reckless drivers seeing their car insurance premiums skyrocket. “And the police department is going to begin by paying the average base premium.” Ramirez added that there has been very little accountability for police officers in recent years in part because of their departments’ powerful unions and their close relationships with elected officials in their respective states.
Increased Civil Litigation Action
Section 42 of the U.S. Code, which was established in 1983, states that individuals injured in cases of police brutality may pursue civil liability action against the officer involved. The most common reasons these lawsuits are filed include failure to intervene, alleged excessive force, false arrest, and malicious prosecution. If liability insurance becomes required for police officers, more of these lawsuits could potentially be deterred. Additionally, laws regarding what types of police actions are considered “civil violations” (as opposed to “criminal violations”) and the penalties they incur vary by state. Therefore, be sure to look this up for your state.
More Trust Between Police and Communities of Color
It’s always important for there to be a certain level of trust between police officers and the communities they are sworn to protect. If people who live in predominantly black or Hispanic neighborhoods are cognizant of the reality that law enforcement officials can legally protect themselves by purchasing liability insurance, this trust can potentially be increased. This can result in fewer cases involving police officers using excessive force against individuals in these communities. This, in turn, implies that the funds used to compensate plaintiffs in lawsuits against policemen can instead be allotted to improving the quality of life in these neighborhoods by investing in drug abuse treatment programs, education, and other similar initiatives.
Speak To The Police Professional Liability Insurance Experts
Contact the agents at John M. Glover Insurance Agency for more information about police professional liability insurance and its benefits. Since our founding in 1916, we have been dedicated to serving the insurance needs of clients throughout Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Hawaii. As an independent agency, we work closely with multiple insurers that have proven their reliability and stability over the years.
If you are a police officer or other law enforcement official, you will benefit significantly from acquiring a professional liability insurance policy. This type of policy will protect you from several risks and liabilities you face while enforcing the law in your community. A police professional liability policy will help cover damages arising from property damage, bodily injury, and personal injury resulting from a “wrongful act.” Should you be sued for any reason, your policy will also cover the ensuing legal fees. Depending on your unique needs, you can purchase a policy that provides $100,000 in coverage or $250,000 in coverage.