Regardless, said Rappaport, if
consent decrees were abandoned,
affected municipalities could see more
violent interactions and lawsuits to
follow. Most of these cities are self-insured, so only their excess carriers
might be affected.
And if federal funding for de-escalation and other training were
withdrawn, would the insurance industry
have a role in picking up the tab?
“Absolutely,” Rappaport said.
“Carriers can do the calculations: Do
we expect to save more on claims and
lawsuits than we spend on training?
Research suggests they will.”
Police liability insurers — many
of which are non-competitive, state-
specific municipal risk pools — are
an important “bumblebee” in cross-
pollinating best practices, he said.
Just as carriers share positive results
about telematics devices installed in
police cars, revealing location, speed
and response times, they also share
technology and training success stories.
The need for thorough training
runs the entire law enforcement and
judicial gamut, said Champagne.
“Use of force, medical care,
automobile crashes — those are the
liability triggers. Sheriffs run jails,
and they and their deputies have to
understand the law and procedures in
their operations,” he said.
BODY CAMERAS, PROS AND CONS
With some reservations, body
cameras attached to police officers’
shirts are almost universally hailed
by police organizations, insurers,
academics and even the ACLU.
Some insurers offer grant funding
to municipalities to help finance the
equipment, said Derek Broaddus,
senior vice president at Allied World
Insurance, a specialist primary and
Others offer grant-writing training
to help put the funds within smaller
The pros? “Body cameras can raise
the level of officers’ responsibility
because they know they’re being
recorded,” said Thomason. They can
also influence the behavior of the
person on the other side of the lens.
The cons? At $400 to $1,000 apiece,
they’re expensive, said Kenny Smith,
risk control manager at OneBeacon.
“And then you have the cost of
storage, retrieving images, copying
and redaction when someone requests
them through the Freedom of
Information Act,” he said.
“Cameras alone may be prohibitively
expensive for an entire police
department,” said Brown, “and storage
is expensive, whether on a municipality’s
own servers or on the cloud.”
Taser International — now Axon
— announced in April a program
to equip every U.S. police officer
with a free body camera and provide
police departments with supporting
hardware, software, data storage and
training, free for one year. After a year,
cameras would cost $399 and use of
the company’s Evidence.com platform
$15 to $89 per month, per officer.
“The image that appears on the
public perception, Smith said.
“Once it’s released to the public or
the media, it can be very damaging.
Police departments need to have their
procedural ducks in a row before they
venture into this thing.” &
SUSANNAH LEVINE writes about health
care, education and technology. She can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
evening news can look awful, but
it doesn’t show the run-up to the
incident,” Broaddus said. “It doesn’t
show the pre-arrest history between
the participants, the altercation or
“When you don’t have the full
scope of context, it creates more risk,”
Video footage can stir up negative