Each year cities across the country pay hundreds of millions of dollars to settle allegations of police brutality. Large settlements are supposed to compensate victims but are also designed to force police departments to change their ways, rid their forces of bad apples and do more to ensure that trust is established between the public and the police. According to a recent report by NPR news, these settlements have had little impact on the departments that pay them. The Minneapolis-based Committee for Professional Policing has a novel idea: require all officers to carry professional liability insurance.
The goal is to aggressively encourage officers to change their ways if they are abusive. If they must incur the cost of increased premiums based upon their actions, perhaps they will think twice about behaving unprofessionally, the logic goes. Not surprisingly, the police are against it and they may have good reason. While the spirit of the suggestion may be well intended, to imply that all officers are potentially abusive is, perhaps, an unintended implication. While liability insurance may not be the answer, a solution has thus far, been quite elusive.