Associate Magazine - FBINAA - Q3-2022




A s a young officer, I didn’t give liability risk a second thought. There was no time to think about those things. I was too busy learning firearms, tactical training, officer safety protocol, how to enter a home and neutralize situations, precision driving, completing detailed reports, interviewing, interrogation, search warrants, and the list goes on. In my 30+ years working as a sworn officer, insurance coverage or workers’ compensation benefits were rarely discussed. Today, when the topic of liability and insur ance coverage is raised, most of us in the industry draw a blank, or worse, we put our blinders on and try to ignore the potential risks. The intimidating details behind insurance and workers’ compensation are daunting, especially when analyzed in the dan gerous world of law enforcement. Terms like “risk management,” “human resources”and “mitigating risk” make most police officers cringe. It all seems so complex and time-consuming. We are fight ing crime. We are preserving the peace. We are protecting commu nities. While we are keeping people safe, we rarely think about our own well-being or the effect a devastating injury or death might have on those that depend on us until the unexpected happens. While it’s difficult to imagine that dreadful moment and the avalanche of stress that could land in your loved one's lap, we see it all too frequently on social media: GoFundMe accounts, fund raising barbecues, etc. Although the good intentions of crowd funding and community support make a big impact, the interest and the money slowly fade over time. That’s why we must ensure that we are protected with comprehensive coverage during an off duty job, but how? Potential risks of off-duty employment and the basics of li ability insurance should be addressed during the Police Academy. The sooner we have the conversation and share the knowledge, the faster we can mitigate risk and protect our LE community. Discussing the looming liability risks overall is an area we need to grow stronger in as a profession. Potential liability risks can be as damaging as other tactical threats. As such, we need to be teaching about it in leadership schools and executive training pro grams. Until we, as agency leaders, take the time to acknowledge this issue and institute some training, our officers, and agencies (and cities) will continue putting themselves at risk – without even knowing it. continued on page 43

Off-Duty Liability – Another Blind Spot A few years ago, when I was still an active chief, I was sitting in the audience as our State Municipal League discussed risk mitigation, liability, and the like. They asked the chiefs in the audience a question, “Raise your hand if you think that your officers are covered by workers’ compensation or liability insurance if something happens to them while working an off-duty job.” I was one of those chiefs that raised my hand. I was under the impression that if we were wearing a uniform, we were protected by some level of liability coverage. I was mistaken!

42 F B I N A A . O R G | Q 3 2 0 2 2

Made with FlippingBook flipbook maker