Can insurance coverage be used to reign in police misconduct?

NBC News has a recent piece on, “ the surprise hand that utilizes money to reform distressed cops departments“– basically, looking at the private market solutions to public law enforcement problems. It’s a worthwhile read if you have an interest in authorities reform like me. While it does not go too in-depth, it does offer a glimpse at the ways that the presence (read: danger) of private insurance providers have assisted to alleviate some prospective police misbehavior … and likewise how that can completely backfire and wind up sapping resources away from a town— particularly when the claim and insurance coverage suggests that offending police officers still keep their jobs.

For insurance companies, police reform is about money, not morality. Just as State Farm wishes to prevent auto accident, a liability insurer wants to prevent suits.

When the clients are police departments, “loss prevention” suggests teaching cops departments how to minimize risk. In the first extensive research study of how insurance providers impact police, Rappaport surveyed the market’s carrots and sticks, from policy audits to virtual reality use-of-force simulators. Rappaport’s favorite example is the insurance company that sends agents incognito to hang out at “police officer bars” to observe the authorities culture.

” Insurers are clearly affecting the habits of authorities departments they guarantee, for much better or for even worse,” Rappaport said. “They are capable of doing it for the much better and sometimes more efficiently than governmental agencies and district attorneys.”

As the article appropriately mentions, a large barricade with this personal insurance option is that it’s famously hard to take legal action against the authorities, or really submit any kind of grievance that causes any other action. Which means sure, towns can pay for cops insurance, but it’s just going to inflate their authorities budgets, which are likely currently pumped up beyond demonstrably practical values to start with.

Another thing that did stand apart to me from this post, that made it feel particularly appropriate to current occasions:

About 85 percent of police departments serve municipalities of under 25,000 individuals, and they are most likely to be covered by liability insurance providers. These smaller departments seldom make national news, however they are more likely than big-city departments to be bothered, experts stated. While police killings have fallen in huge cities over the past 6 years, a FiveThirtyEight data analysis reveals that they have actually increased in suburban and backwoods.

This inconsistency can likely explain a lot of the American political stress around policing. In little towns, people are more likely to have individual relationships with their police departments; and regrettably, this means people are likewise ready to make more excuses for them. Urban police departments might have bigger workforces, which makes it simpler for things to get lost in the governmental maker; however once again, small towns can still weaponize that bureaucratic device, with the added guard of individual relationships and little town pride.

I’m not exactly sure what the conclusion is, but it certainly made me think.

The concealed hand that utilizes cash to reform distressed police departments[Kit Ramgopal and Brenda Breslauer]

Image: U.S. Flying force image by Kendra Williams[Public Domain]

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