NY state lawmaker introduces bill to require police officers get personal liability insurance
A New York state lawmaker has introduced a bill that would require officers to obtain personal liability insurance as an incentive to crack down on police misconduct.
The legislation, introduced by state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D), would require all officers possess personal liability insurance to cover any lawsuits filed against them about excessive force, abuse, or other misconduct claims against them, according to a press release.
The new bill would introduce drastic changes to the ways departments handle litigation. Currently, cops who are sued are represented by the city law department and taxpayer dollars fund verdicts or settlements.
Under Biaggi’s bill, each officer in a department would need to obtain personal liability insurance, although the government would still cover necessary insurance policies in certain situations, such as tort litigations.
The bill would aim to hold police more accountable for mistreatment or misconduct by forcing officers to pay premiums for wrongdoings.
“Officers who have misconduct claims brought against them may see their premium go up and will be required to pay those costs,” Biaggi told the New York Post. “The purpose of this bill is to establish a financial disincentive for police misconduct and create accountability for abhorrent behavior.”
According to the Post, New York City paid over $230 million throughout 6,472 separate alleged officer misconduct cases between July 2017 and June 2018, a report released by city Comptroller Scott Stringer showed.
Biaggi said that officers “too often” evade meaningful accountability at the expense of taxpayer dollars.
Her proposed legislation comes amid sweeping police accountability measures that were signed into law last month by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and during the city’s highest reported spikes in shootings in nearly 25 years.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) also agreed last month to plans to cut the New York City Police Department’s budget by $1 billion.
In recent weeks, crime statistics indicate the city has surpassed 400 shootings for the first half of the year, a mark that has not been seen since 2016. The city logged 528 shootings at the end of last month, following the worst crime report in June since 1996, according to The New York Times.
“This is something that we have to double down on,” de Blasio said at a press briefing Monday.
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