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Proviso Probe

Thursday, September 11, 2008

how should police officers be insured against their misconduct?

TChris (Talk Left) wrote about the phenomenon of St. Paul demanding the Republican Party insure the city against expenses related to police misconduct.
This is an interesting policy question: Should cities be allowed to insure themselves against claims of police brutality? The City of St. Paul agreed to host the Republican National Convention on the condition that Republican Party arranged "to buy insurance covering up to $10 million in damages and unlimited legal costs for law enforcement officials accused of brutality, violating civil rights and other misconduct." Private donations were used to purchase the insurance. (link in original goes to AP article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune)

TChris takes the position that taxpayers will do a better job holding municipalities accountable than insurance companies.

This is a pretty good example of someone having ideological blinders. Insurance companies will hold municipalities accountable by either dropping them as customers or raising their insurance premiums.

I don't understand why you'd think voters would hold elected officials accountable for money paid directly for settlements but not money paid indirectly to insurance companies.

Here's what I like about insuring police officers against police misconduct. I like that the municipalities can (if they choose) write it into the contracts that the individual police officers are responsible for a share of their insurance. Police officers that have more problems would have higher premiums. Higher premiums would provide a financial incentive for bad cops to get out of police work.

After seeing the ineffectiveness of the Cook County State's Attorney in holding violent, lying, messed-up-in-the-head cops accountable, I'm willing to let the free market have a role in holding bad cops accountable too.

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