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A measure that would require police officers to carry professional liability insurance could be on Minneapolis ballots in November’s general election.
The “Police Insurance Amendment” would allow the city to pay the base rate for officers’ insurance coverage, but premium increases triggered by cases of officer misconduct would be covered by the officers involved in those incidents. That’s a change from current practice, under which the city is self-insured and determines if it will cover police misconduct settlements on an individual basis.
The shift would give officers a direct financial incentive to stay in line, proponents say, and cut the settlements paid out by the city in cases of officer misconduct. Between 2012 and September 2015, Minneapolis spent $6.6 million on settlements. The police union’s president, meanwhile, warns that such a policy would prompt officers to interact less with the public, for fear of financial repercussions.
“This common-sense approach works much like car insurance,” Dave Bicking, the Committee for Professional Policing’s campaign chairman said in a statement. “Just like bad drivers, officers who engage in misconduct will see their premiums increase and those who don’t improve may eventually be priced out or become uninsurable.”
Meanwhile, state law requires cities to “defend and indemnify any of its officers and employees,” so long as those employees were carrying out their official duties and “not guilty of malfeasance in office, willful neglect of duty, or bad faith.” And if the amendment were approved, changes to insurance would have to be negotiated, said Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the police union. Kroll said requiring insurance would have an unintended impact on officers’ behavior: “They’re not going to get out of their cars for anything.”
Good idea, as so many just kill random children.