Liability Insurance For Police May Benefit Citizens | WBEZ
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Liability Insurance For Police May Benefit Citizens

A new study finds people may benefit when police departments take out private insurance policies. John Rappaport with the University of Chicago Law School has been studying the industry.

The majority of police departments in the country are small to midsize, and many of them have liability insurance.

In a report published this month, Rappaport says insurers are incentivized to reform departments because they’re on the hook for police misconduct claims. Companies may set up training for officers. But Rappaport also found that many small departments don’t receive claims of misconduct.

Still Rappaport says while large departments like Chicago don’t have this type of insurance, they can still learn from it.

“It makes a lot of sense to be planning and thinking proactively and reducing liability exposure hopefully means reducing police misconduct which is something we all should want to happen,” he says.

But Rappaport says there are limitations to the insurance companies. They cover wrongful convictions, but it’s difficult for insurers to manage that type of risk since claims might not show up for years after the wrongdoing.

Rappaport says there isn’t yet quantifying evidence to say whether insurance helps minimize police misconduct but he says they have been able to force some police departments to fire problem officers and adopt new policies.

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