It comes as no surprise that there is a growing animosity towards law enforcement officials from the general public. In the wake of protests such as those in St. Louis, it is no wonder that police officials are met with apprehension and what some would argue to be prejudice out on the streets. While some officers are in fact corrupt or misguided, the instances are few and far between. Hundreds of thousands of officer civilian interactions occur each day, the vast majority of which are handled appropriately and even compassionately, but those stories are rarely told and even less likely to be noticed by the public.
The reality is that police brutality, the use of excessive and deadly force and other abuses of power are seen across the nation, thanks to the media, but are actually incredibly rare. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics only 1.5 percent of officer-civilian interactions involve the use or threat of force against the civilian. However, roughly 85% of individuals involved in those incidents often report that the police official’s behavior was out of line. While only 14% of these instances are reported to the corresponding police department, stories about these occurrences circulate rapidly and widely with the help of broadcast journalism and social medial. The widespread circulation of these real stories, combined with police portrayals in popular culture and media have greatly impacted the levels of public distrust for law enforcement.
Many of these instances arise out of a situational element the FBI refers to as “the deadly mix.” This is in reference to the dynamic interaction of the officer, the offender, and the circumstances that brought them together which in turn greatly impacts how a situation is handled. As the officers and civilians interact, each forms expectations about the other and struggle to determine how the other will react. They then based their own actions on the assessment of one another’s behaviors and respond accordingly. Sometimes these responses are incorrect, and result in conflict or struggle between the two, and in occasional cases misuse of force.
Regardless of the circumstances which cause the use or allegations of police misconduct, such accusations are becoming more prominent and even more frequent, thus making the proper precautions necessary for any law enforcement agency and officer.
Police professionals can almost always be personally held responsible for their actions, and claimants can bring charges directly against an individual or against their police department as a whole. Having the right police liability insurance can help you protect yourself should a lawsuit be filed against you. At Professional Government Underwriters, Inc. we specialize in professional underwriting for public service industries. Our Police Professional Liability Insurance can help protect you against a variety of work related liability claims so you can rest assured and continue fulfilling your civic duties to the best of your abilities. Please Contact Us today for more information about our coverage offerings.