In the current system, when civil judgments are awarded for police misconduct or alleged misconduct, the officers themselves bear no personal liability. It is the hardworking taxpayer who shoulders the monetary burden of misconduct lawsuits.
The City of Los Angeles paid out about $110 million in jury awards and settlements for lawsuits brought by police officers against the department over six years ending in June 2012.
The City has paid nearly $24 million in settlements or verdicts in about 400 LAPD traffic-related lawsuits over the last nine years and must contend with dozens more cases that remain unresolved, city records show. In 2019, the City paid 10 million dollar in a retaliation lawsuit. In all but a few of the closed cases, city officials opted to pay a negotiated settlement instead of taking their chances at a trial — a strong indication that the officers were in the wrong.
So what can we do to mitigate these costs?
Answer: Initiate a Police Liability Insurance Act (PLIA)
Doctors, lawyers, contractors and other professionals are required to carry professional liability insurance, so why not police officers? Liability insurance encourages a higher level of professionalism in the execution of duties. We believe a supplemental police liability insurance policy would bring accountability to officers as they would have to help foot the bill for their abuses.
Much like automobile or life policies, officers will pay a premium for their supplemental professional liability insurance. The insurance company would track all settlements against an officer including the city deductibles paid. This information would be used to assess risks and the officers continued insurability. If at any point an officer is deemed uninsurable due to repeated misconduct or negligence, then he/she could no longer be employed as a police officer nationwide. This law would put an end to gypsy cops (Cop who resign before they are fired and go to another department)