Tuesday Talk*: What More Should Cops Carry?

There’s some room for variation on a police officer’s belt. Their service weapon. Maybe OS spray or a Taser. Cuffs, ammo, a flashlight. What else should they carry? Cato’s Clark Neily says liability insurance.

The total payout for injuries caused by NYPD officers in 2017 was an unprecedented $308.2 million (up from a “mere” $92.4 million in 2007, and $152 million in 2012). That money didn’t come out of the pockets of the officers responsible for the misconduct; the bills were covered by you, the taxpayer.

That’s because police departments nearly always pick up the tab for damages caused by the officers they employ.

Clark looks to the intersection of law and economics for a solution.

Fortunately, there is a better policy that is more fair to taxpayers — and has the substantial side benefit of creating strong incentives for police to avoid hurting innocent people.

Like police, doctors have a difficult and stressful job that sometimes involves making life-or-death decisions under conditions of uncertainty. But unlike police, doctors don’t expect the rest of us to pay for their mistakes. Instead, doctors carry professional liability insurance, which pays to defend them against malpractice claims and protects them from financial ruin by paying out damage awards to successful plaintiffs.

The analogy of docs to cops is a bit strained. Police are public employees. Physicians, generally, are not. Policing is an occupation. Doctors are professionals. But the analogy also carries some weight.

Insurance companies are exceptionally good at identifying risk. Think about car insurance. The more accidents or speeding tickets a driver has had, the higher their premiums will be. The same is true for teenagers, who tend to get in more wrecks than adults and therefore represent a greater risk to the insurance company.

Instead of spreading those risks among all of their policyholders, insurance companies charge risky drivers more while giving a break to their safest drivers, who pay less.

The reason insurance companies are good at fixing risk is that it costs them money. They hate paying out money. Their existence relies on them charging more money than they pay out. If you’re the person who’s going to cost them money, they don’t want you. But more to the point, insurance companies will impose restrictions to limit their losses, and if you’re too risky, they won’t insure you.

Unfortunately, police departments have a hard time getting rid of their own bad apples: For example, the officers who tried to frame Wiggins are still employed by the NYPD; no charges have been filed against them.

But insurance companies have powerful incentives to identify the greatest risks — whether drivers, doctors or cops — and charge them accordingly. If cops had to carry insurance, the worst offenders would quickly be identified and charged higher rates. If they failed to clean up their act, they would eventually become uninsurable and thus unemployable.

Of course, that’s true for auto insurance, but not so for health insurance, where the government has put a finger on the scales to shift the relative burdens. Community ratings are imposed, which spreads cost without regard to risk. Healthy or sick, you’re charged the same. Even pre-existing illness or disability gets covered, despite the fact that it’s no longer insurance but a transfer payment.

Would it work for cops?

One objection is that police are already doing a difficult and dangerous job for relatively low pay, and it would be unfair to saddle them with the additional cost of insuring themselves.

No problem. We can take that pot of taxpayer money currently being used to pay damage awards for misbehaving cops — $308 million in payouts last year divided by 34,000 uniformed NYPD officers equals nearly $10,000 per cop — and use it to give them an insurance allowance.

When very-high-risk officers see premiums go up, they would have to pay the difference out of their own pockets. That’s fair.

It’s almost as if police unions would allow this to happen, if the out-of-pocket cost for individual cop insurance in excess of the allowance wasn’t used to justify a demand for a salary increase or a perpetually higher allowance.

Private liability insurance provides an extremely powerful tool for distinguishing between the best and the worst cops. The time has come to use it.

It may well be a powerful tool for distinguishing between good and bad apples, if one considers the good cops the ones who don’t pull the trigger but stand there and watch, then lie to cover their brother-in-blue’s bad choice. But would it work? Would a cop forsake the First Rule of Policing to save on his insurance premium? Are economic incentives the way to break the rhythm of bad cops?

*Tuesday Talk rules apply.

65 thoughts on “Tuesday Talk*: What More Should Cops Carry?

  1. REvers

    “Would a cop forsake the First Rule of Policing to save on his insurance premium?”

    He’d probably just shoot the adjuster.

  2. PseudonymousKid

    No. Cato is overly fascinated with fucking insurance schemes. You said in the other post today the choice is life or death. Insurance will just enclose the problem in yet another byzantine web that will hide the core problem. it’s not a solution at all.

    I know what we should do. Let’s write a statute that mandates insurance for all police. We’ll set up marketplaces where cops can shop for insurance in a “competitive” marketplace that we will ensure is not competitive or a marketplace at all. If cops don’t get insurance, then we should penalize them for doing so. It makes so much sense and there is nothing better we can do because reasons.

    Sure insurance may make things more efficient. How happy the citizens will be to know that their government saved 32% off of settlements where cops kill innocent people by mandating liability insurance. At least one former citizen isn’t so happy, but oh well. We can’t prevent that.

    Cato says “economic solution” and libertarians swoon. Gross. I can hear their chants now, “small government, big insurance companies!” Let’s privatize the police next. “This warrant is being served thanks to Burger King, home of the Whopper.” Think of all the pennies we can pinch as cops do what they’ve always done before.

    Cato’s solution is “better to be judged by insurance adjusters than carried by six.” It’s no solution at all.

      1. PseudonymousKid

        Dear Judge Kopf,

        Color me flattered, or maybe you’re just taking pity on me. Like Pa said though, I already have an online dad. Are you taking applications for evil apprentice perchance? My self study of the dark arts is taking too long.


        1. SHG Post author

          Before we burn that bridge, you’re not doing the “condom challenge,” right PK?

          Instead of putting the condoms on their penises, teens are putting the condoms up their noses and then pulling them out of their mouths.

          If so, Judge Kopf and I have something to discuss.

            1. SHG Post author

              Back in my day it was goldfish, but only the idiots actually did it while the rest of us laughed at them.

            2. Richard Kopf


              I have carefully read this thread. You are my hero. Why don’t you adopt me?

              All the best.


              PS Although I found them tasty, I stopped eating slugs long ago.

            3. PseudonymousKid

              Dear Judge Kopf, or dare I say, Son,

              I have no reason not to adopt you. Does that make it official? I’m sure it’s part of your life appointment somewhere that you can do whatever you want anyway, so I’m assuming it’s done. And I’m glad my slug-eating-awareness campaign is working.

              Remember though that despite all my rage, I’m still just a rat in a cage.


              Papa PK

  3. Keith

    Considering the propensity for Departments to want keep the actions of bad cops quiet, how would you deal with the secrecy aspect?

    While it sounds great to me, the plan seems to rely on insurance companies getting a lot of information that wouldn’t be publicly available.

    Also, if say, an insurance payout is due to a raid in which a dozen cops participated and one pulled the trigger, does the payment “liability” get spread among the 12 or the 1? How do we handle the issue of risk when the decision to put cops in the situation may be just as consequential to the outcome as the cop that pulled the trigger?

  4. Nick Ridgeway

    I like this idea. Making officers personally liable would make many think twice before shooting an unarmed person.

    Couple of thoughts though.

    Would this further disincentive good cops from taking jobs in high risk areas? Certainly, even a low-risk cop would have a higher insurance premium in Baltimore than they would in Lincoln, NE. The market would have to adjust and provide even higher compensation for the job in Baltimore.

    Overall, I think any deterrence for shooting unarmed people is worth it at this point.

    1. PseudonymousKid

      Maybe it would deter officers from helping out too, lest they have to do something nasty but necessary and their insurance premiums go up regardless. Still, this isn’t about personal liability, but about shifting the burden of the “bad” cops’ mistakes more onto the “bad” cops and less on anyone else. At least that’s you’d hope it to work.

    2. Jay

      I like this idea too, perhaps tying the cost to lawsuit damages where wrongdoing has been established. The cops still get their union representation, and myself as a taxpayer isn’t as negatively impacted if a settlement is paid by an insurance company, perhaps out of their retirement funds. Take their retirement away and the calls for bad apples to be culled would likely increase. A ‘good’ cop would be far more likely to handle it internally or to otherwise deal with it, if his inaction would create a negative impact.

      While doctors are private citizens, they are not given authority to use deadly force like cops. I think they should be held to a higher standard than us lowly citizens.

      1. Skink

        Pushing the costs and damages on the individuals will do nothing because there would be no cases. The coverage on this type of policy would have to be at least $2M, $5M to attract the lawyers, but that certainly isn’t the type of policy envisioned because coverage isn’t mentioned. Premium for those policies would be enormous.

        Sticking to the point, these are cases involving deadly force. In any individual LE agency, successful cases are rare, like years between claims rare, so the individual coverage would have to be about the same as the coverage for the agency. However, making it individual makes it very expensive. It’s a lousy use of money.

        Damn it, I’ve gone civil, again. I’ll leave before SHG gets a grump.

        1. Jay

          I am talking about using the entire retirement fund to pay for settlements instead of taxpayers. I’m not talking about an individual cop writing a check, I am trying to incentivize good cops to weed out the ones who could cost them their retirement. I see no problem shifting that liability for bad cops from taxpayer coffers to their retirement. I don’t think they’d go along.

          1. Skink

            OK, tell the feds you think laws protecting retirement funds has to go. Not just for LEOs, but for everyone. Then do the same for the states. I wish you luck.

            “Good cops” don’t “weed out” bad cops because they might cost them imaginary money. If they do it, they do it because there are bad cops. There are also bad lawyers in law firms that cost clients boatloads of money. Will whacking the firm’s group 401K plan stop the bad lawyers from being bad lawyers?

            1. Jay

              I didn’t say it was feasible or that it has a chance of happening. Right now, I see bad cop behavior being excused away, and I see taxpayer funded settlement when bad cops get caught. As a taxpayer, I don’t agree that my tax dollars should be spent settling lawsuits because of poor or egregious behavior. There are bad apples in every profession, but I don’t feel like there is enough accountability with cops.

              We will have to agree to disagree on your second paragraph, although your second sentence is interesting. Don’t let me put words in your mouth, but it seems like you’re assuming cops will always or usually do the right thing, but we both know there are bad apples, and those apples are the ones I am referring to. There are myriad examples of retaliation against cops who report other cops for corruption.

              Using your lawyer example which is probably over my head. In your example, the clients are the ones who are financially impacted, not the other lawyers. The financial vehicle doesn’t matter to me in this example. What I am trying to say is that if your retirement/other could potentially be affected by your partners in your firm acting the fool, you would have more of an incentive to correct or prevent abusive behavior. If the same behavior had no impact on you financially, if the penalty would be paid by someone other than you, what incentive do you have to weed out bad apples, other than doing the right thing because you’re a good person? I hope it’s obvious I am referring to a bad apple, not a good one.

              Would you agree that retaliation by cops against other cops who report corruption is a problem? Anonymous call lines are probably not effective for the kinds of actions I am referring to, I am talking about serious misbehavior, like pocketing drug money during a bust, etc.

              Regarding your last question, if the potential of ‘whacking the firm’s group 401k’ would be motivation for the partners to not hire ‘bad lawyers’. I’m talking about a police department and city settlements, much larger sums of money and deeper pockets than your example.

      1. Turk

        It’s against public policy to have insurance cover intentional tort injuries.

        But, I don’t want to speak in absolute terms. One could make the claim that while the act was intentional, the injury was unintended and therefore negligently inflicted. (i.e. I punched him because he was looking at my girl funny, but didn’t mean to do it so hard as to knock out all those teeth.)

        Since this is a small needle to thread in arena of cops and alleged bad guys, the concept of insurance would be likely be negligible.

    1. Turk

      I hit send too soon. The hurdles that one needs to get past qualified immunity could eliminate most (all?) payments of damages by an insurance carrier.

      The pairing of this post with your other one today on Kisela v. Hughes was, no doubt, coincidental, but they both head to the same place regarding the level of culpability of the cop on the scale of negligence – recklessness – intent.

      1. Jay

        Acquittal but fired, wouldn’t this cop be covered by QI?

        I won’t add the link, but I’m referring to “Minnesota officer fired from police force after acquittal in Philando Castile shooting”

    2. Skink

      If you’re talking about covering federal civil rights claims for shootings or other excessive force, insurance is available. It is also widely purchased by governments.

      1. Turk

        It is also widely purchased by governments.

        The underlying article dealt with the cops buying coverage for their own conduct, not a gov’t buying it.

        Are there policies out there where cops can buy coverage for their own misconduct? If so, I’d love to see a sample and see what the magic words are for disclaimers of coverage for various acts.

        1. Skink

          I have never seen individual policies. They could be written, but who pays the premium?

          Governments have these policies, with LEOs as named group insureds. There is simply a section 1983 rider included, either through a risk pool or through insurance companies. Some of the AIG companies do this work. Lexington comes to mind. If through insurance, there is usually a huge retention, so the policy really acts as excess.

  5. Dan

    If this actually made the bad actors uninsurable, and thus unemployable as cops, there might be a benefit. Aside from that, the taxpayers are still funding the cost of those police shootings (and if they’re resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars per year in settlement payments, lots of bad shootings), and on top of that, paying a profit to the insurance companies.

  6. Skink

    Where does this magic money for premiums come from? Neily glosses-over how the business works. Since the premium must ultimately come from taxes or other government income, how is it cheaper to give that income to LEOs to buy individual policies, rather than use the leverage of a much larger policy for the city, which it certainly has in one way or another?

    Insurance won’t deter shootings any more than it deters bad drivers.

    1. PseudonymousKid

      Supposedly the premiums would be less than the $308 million that NYC paid out according to Neily, so the officers would receive a stipend for insurance, thus creating a market for the liability insurance by government decree. Why or how Neily knows that would cost NYC less than $308 million, I have no idea. It seems the stipends, because of the glories of the marketplace and insurance and greed, would obviously be more efficient than paying out settlements.

      So yes, the source of the money remains unchanged for now. The government still pays, but insurance becomes the risk-apportionment system which hopefully would self-regulate and push risky cops out by punishing their pocketbooks somehow.

      1. Skink

        Neily doesn’t say NYC paid. He says it was paid. The city would pay if it is self-insured, but there’s no mention of insurance. So there is no “supposedly.” We don’t know if the city is insured, but it would be nuts for it not to have some coverage. Then again, government.

          1. Skink

            It doesn’t change the concept for individual policies. Issuing those policies would be an insurer’s wet dream.

            For a fat fee, I’d happily show the City how an excess policy could be affordable. But then, it would have to lay off a bunch of risk managers and in-house adjusters.

  7. Charles

    You only need insurance if you have the risk of liability. With QI eliminating all but the most egregious, uninsurable conduct, there is nothing left to insure.

    “We can take that pot of taxpayer money currently being used to pay damage awards for misbehaving cops — $308 million in payouts last year divided by 34,000 uniformed NYPD officers equals nearly $10,000 per cop — and use it to give them an insurance allowance.”

    This is the worst part of the idea because it would set the current level of conduct as the baseline. If shootings stay the same, premiums wouldn’t change. Do we really want to establish $308 million in payouts as the baseline from here on?


    (relevant section is at the 2:30 mark, but start at the beginning)

  8. ppnl

    I don’t think I understand. If the cop is covered by QI and so is not liable then how does insurance change anything? Isn’t QI a constitutional issue?

    1. the other alan

      QI protects the cop himself, but does not stop the victim from suing – hence the $308 million in payouts with virtually no accountability from individuals officers.

        1. Skink

          You have something Freudian going on. You pack a box with stuff from your own neighborhood, take it for a walk to Brooklyn, then don’t understand why those denizens don’t get get the wonder of the contents.

  9. Richard

    At least in my state, doctors who are employed by public entities are either insured by their employer, or damages are paid through the entities insurance/self-insured program. The whole concept of vicarious liability is to shift the risk of harm to the employer. If we are going to shift it onto the individual cop to facilitate getting rid of bad actors, why not all employees. A lousy driver with a car can easily do as much damage as a scared cop with a gun.

    1. Skink

      I know I said I’d go. But this has nothing to do with vicarious liability because the concept doesn’t exist in federal civil rights cases of this type. If you want something vicarious, then we can make believe it’s vicarious payment. Why have vicarious payment? Because it acts as a deterrent to the individuals throwing the agency under the bus in defense of an individual claim.

      1. Richard

        Vicarious liability does not officially exist in federal civil rights claims, but in the states I am familiar with employee indemnity laws often impose such liability as a practical matter under the same theory–shifting the risk of harm to the employer. In my state scared cops may be liable under various state law causes of action as well, though state law immunities eliminate those under some circumstances.

        1. SHG Post author

          Obviously, there’s no substantive vicarious liability under 1983 (other than a Monell claim, which isn’t actually vicarious), but perhaps the problem is that municipalities voluntarily indemnify their cops, which has the same effect. Bottom line is that cops do the dirty and the taxpayers pay for it either way.

  10. LocoYokel

    Make them all wear shock collars wired to their holsters. Whenever they draw their gun the collar shocks the living snot outta them. Eventually they will learn to think twice about drawing unless it’s really necessary. It may take a while though.

    1. SHG Post author

      You really want to broach the subject of shock collars, as it’s not likely to turn out well for you.

  11. Nemo

    Cato calls this scheme an “economic solution”, and it’s a misleading term. While the mechanism is economic, and presumably there’s the stealth side benefit of bringing in outside oversight, the fact of the matter is that the solution is a political one, not economic.

    The thing about political solutions is that what politics can do, politics can undo, and the police wield a great deal of political clout. Unless that clout’s addressed, political solutions are suspect, at best.

    Therefore, the goal very nearly has to be dissolving the police unions. While this might sound unrealistic, no other solution can be realistic unless this is done first. Not only do police unions have enough political clout to defeat accountability measures at the ballot box, they are also well-used to nibbling away at such measures that do get passed, until those measures have either been neutered or subverted to the benefit of the police.

    As long as police have unions, ideas like liability insurance and such are futile, doomed to fail or die on the vine. The very reason it sounds impossible is reason enough, IMO, to do it. That’s too much political power for any group to have, when they have enough of it to be virtually unassailable, while able to act freely. And that power breeds corruption.

    As proof of concept, consider the fact that police unions have been a significant player in the fight to legalize pot. Then consider the fact that the only real interest the police have in the issue is if they get to arrest people on pot charges, or not. That’s all, everything else is smoke and mirrors. “Gateway drug”, my aching arse. They have no legitimate business influencing policy in that regard. Corruption.

    As long as the police unions stand, nothing lasting can be done.

  12. Jyjon

    If this gets the green light, Broward County Sherriff is already ahead of the curve with the officers practicing the ‘stay out of the way until it’s over’ tactic to help keep insurance premiums down. If they don’t get into the mix, they can’t be liable for shooting the wrong one.

  13. Shadow of a Doubt

    I think the heart of the problem here is that this will neither save the taxpayer any money, nor will it stop anyone except chronic killers from killing anyone, and even then only if there is legislation preventing the city/state/police union from billing it back to the taxpayer.

    On the money side:
    If we assume a for-profit insurance provider, it will by definition more expensive than the payouts for them to make a profit while selling the insurance. As there is not a police union in existence anywhere in the world that would allow their officers to bear this cost, it would be passed on entirely to the taxpayer in the form of increased tax or less officers on each departments payroll. Even if you wrote a law (which is usually the wrong way to go about things) mandating that the insurance must be paid by each officer individually and it would not be an employment benefit, departments would simply increase salaries to make up for this or no one would ever agree to work there.

    If we assume a subsidized provider, then we have solved nothing as with the way lawsuits currently stand, they are basically “insured” by the state or city treasury already.

    And on an entirely different note, families would now have no form of recourse whatsoever against an officer with no assets who committed a wrongful beating/killing and had let his insurance lapse, sure he might lose his job, but you can’t get blood from a stone and if the liability is now placed on the officer and not department, it would be like a car crash where neither driver had insurance, lots of people might be going to jail and bankrupt afterward but it offers no recourse to the actual victims.

    On the prevention side: If insurance assumes all police are high risk when coming onto the job, the premiums will be extremely high to begin with, and even a wrongful death suit will not increase it much, which provides very little in terms of deterrence, and in fact the type of officer who took the job (and i know there are not many but they do exist) as an excuse to beat, bully or kill undesirables will probably happily pay the increased premiums to continue doing so.

    If insurance treats all new officers (or existing who have a clean record) as low risk, premium are low and affordable at first, and a wrongful death suit raises the guilty officers premiums by a lot. This works great until one realizes that it will drive those crappy officers out of policing, also great, except then they aren’t paying the increased premium, which means that cost has to be distributed among all the low-risk officers and we’re back to the previous scenario. If it were on a state basis small towns would have nearly no police service at all, and if it were national, there would likely be states that could not afford any police in the entire state due to the conduct of officers in NYC.

    This is again assuming that counties or police unions don’t start including a provision that any officer with x years on the job is automatically entitled to a raise to make up for any increased insurance costs. If they aren’t willing to let officers lose their jobs over killing a person, I doubt they’d balk at squeezing a few more dollars out of the taxpayers.

    Lastly this is essentially E&O (errors and omissions) insurance for police. E&O insurance almost universally increases, not decreases, incidents because the entire point of it is to allow professionals to perform higher risk services without fear of losing their house etc. because of a mistake, it exists to protect the person committing the risky behavior, not the potential victim of it. The victim gets a bigger target to sue, but it does nothing to prevent the incident in the first place.

    All in all, extremely bad idea, in my opinion. IMHO what needs to happen is some form of negotiation or if necessary, legislation, that takes the first part of any settlement on the city’s behalf out of the officers own assets (IE 1 million lawsuit, officer has 250k in assets, he pays his first, city pays difference). I don’t think this could ever be negotiated with police unions and the like, but it seems a better option then mandating insurance on every officer that none of them will ever pay out of their own pockets anyhow. This in my opinion has a better chance of preventing bad shoots and the like, but much like all previous options, has no impact on anyone who would simply quit their job after getting their insurance hiked. It seems all options though would require legislation preventing unions from billing it all back to the taxpayer in the end.

    Sorry for the long comment, but I actually had to cut it short to make it this small, this seems like it could be a very deep rabbit hole to go down.

    1. Skink

      You should have started by mentioning the rabbit hole, not finished, because that’s where you spent all your time. This issue has nothing to do with unions. Unions, like the PBA, mostly hire lawyers to deal with employment-related shit. I mean that in the clearest manner: they represent LEOs when they are fired or sanctioned. Given the opportunity, the LEOs would hire someone like me; someone who knows how LE works. But they can’t because those organizations want to pay someone like me less than I pay my paralegal. As a result, they get lousy representation, and no one capable of handling a death case.

      “If we assume a for-profit insurance provider, it will by definition more expensive than the payouts for them to make a profit while selling the insurance.”

      There’s a dumb assumption. Insurance companies covering governmental liability make their money on the vig. They invest the money. For a long time following the Depression, those companies owned many banks. They know what to do with money. As SHG pointed out, NYC is self-insured. That means it has in-house risk managers, adjusters and lawyers to handle cases. They likely don’t do a great job because government employees. Insurance wipes many of those employees out, replacing them with people that know how to manage litigation, including lawyers that know the terrain. Because the cases aren’t lost to stupid lawyering, there is a large financial benefit.

      “And on an entirely different note, families would now have no form of recourse whatsoever against an officer with no assets who committed a wrongful beating/killing and had let his insurance lapse, sure he might lose his job, but you can’t get blood from a stone. . . .”

      That says a whole lot of nothing. Damages can’t be collected from a cop that doesn’t save $2M over his career. The same is true in car crashes. So what? A lawyer will not take a case for the plaintiff where he can’t be paid. If you want a different system, invent one. The one you seem to cry for doesn’t exist on Earth. But, if the agency includes its LEOs on the insurance coverage or indemnifies or defends them, people can get paid.

      “All in all, extremely bad idea, in my opinion. IMHO what needs to happen is some form of negotiation or if necessary, legislation, that takes the first part of any settlement on the city’s behalf out of the officers own assets (IE 1 million lawsuit, officer has 250k in assets, he pays his first, city pays difference).”

      The $250K is what, magic money? You’re just making stuff up. What “negotiation?” Who introduces this dopey “legislation” that takes non-existent money? This exists only in fairyland. There is no such place.

      “Lastly this is essentially E&O (errors and omissions) insurance for police. E&O insurance almost universally increases, not decreases, incidents because the entire point of it is to allow professionals to perform higher risk services without fear of losing their house etc. because of a mistake,”

      Nope. It’s straight liability insurance. I have a $3M policy that covers everything that I do, except being a lawyer. I have that coverage because it’s possible I could be hit for something like that if I screwed up badly. I have no idea where you get the increases/decreases junk, but I’m careful for other reasons than potential suits. So are most others.

      You obviously didn’t read the comments from people that know this stuff. Just as obvious is you do not.

      1. Shadow of a Doubt

        I’m going to take everything you say at face value, whether I agree with it or not, it still leaves you with this, the point of the whole thing is to prevent officer related shootings, not insure the police. The police are already insured by the treasury and insurance of whatever city/county/state they work for. I defer to your quote:

        “but I’m careful for other reasons than potential suits. So are most others.”

        The officers in question sir, are not careful enough for either that reason nor other reasons otherwise this wouldn’t be an issue in the first place. If they’re willing to end a human life, either because of fear or simply being a psychopath, do you think the thought of “Maybe my insurance premium will go up, if they can beat my now awesome insurance-provided lawyer in court” will stop them, or even slow them down?

        So you may have corrected me on some points, but all I see is this offering better protection for offers, less potential payout for victims of wrongful death by officers (who will now have to fight the good lawyers like you, instead of the crappy ones that LEO unions apparently currently employ), so if I take everything you say at face value, it will save city hall a few bucks and make some insurance companies a lot of money. I’m going to assume that you’re a hardcore libertarian if you view this as a positive outcome, I do not.

        1. Skink

          By the numbers:
          1. No, the “whole thing” is not to “prevent officer related shootings.” It’s to control their behavior by making them buy insurance. That won’t work.
          2. The point of the article was that making them buy insurance would produce fewer bad shoots. That’s just bullshit.
          3. Better lawyers get better results. Better lawyers hired by governments result in less paid by taxpayers. Over time, it results in less suits. This may hurt your idea of fairness for victims, but I can’t help that.
          4. “[B]ut all I see is this offering better protection for [officers].(who will now have to fight the good lawyers like you, instead of the crappy ones that LEO unions apparently currently employ), so if I take everything you say at face value, it will save city hall a few bucks and make some insurance companies a lot of money.” Was that supposed to mean something? An individual insurance mandate is stupid. It’s stupid because it will have to be funded by taxpayers or there will be no cops taking the job on these stupid terms.
          5. I have no political leanings, “libertarian,” or otherwise. I’m just a practical, prick lawyer.
          6. Are you always obtuse, or is this purposeful?

          1. Shadow of a Doubt

            Based on the points you listed, we for the most part agree on the overall outcome, and we’re just ranting at each other over each other’s tone and the finer points, which should probably be expected given that the comments section is populated mostly by lawyers or people in related industries.

            And I’m not obtuse on purpose, but I probably always am regardless. I don’t see anything particular to be gained by splitting hairs over minutiae, so I’ll cede the field to you sir.

  14. Jake

    I used to drink with a town cop in Massachusetts who carried liability insurance in the 90s. Is this really a new idea?

    1. SHG Post author

      Then miraculously, he was the only one ever anywhere. You’re a very lucky drinker. Or you’re mistaken.

    2. Sgt. Schultz

      I used to drink with a town cop in Jersey who did patrol on a unicorn that farted rainbows in the 90s.

  15. Jpe789

    Docs that are employees don’t carry their own insurance. Their employers do, just like how cities cover their cop employees. More docs are becoming employees of hospital systems these days precisely because of what a pain it is to have one’s own insurance etc.

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