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From The Trust Perspective: Risk Management Services for Law Enforcement Expanded 

By Bob Haynes, NCLM Associate Director, Risk Management Services

Over the last several years, our Risk Management Services team has dedicated a significant amount of time and resources to develop tools to help law enforcement agencies in our insurance pools reduce accidents and injuries. We are scheduled for our fourth year of police driver training and planning for additional classes this year that cover Taser deployment and advanced use-of-force training. These training opportunities are in addition to programs and devices that we have evaluated to reduce injuries associated with muscle strain and vehicle accidents caused by distracted drivers.

This year we are pleased to add another valuable service for our pool members: With the help of our Police Chiefs’ Advisory Committee, a panel of ten police chiefs from across the state, we have developed a comprehensive risk management review for law enforcement. The committee members worked to analyze insurance and liability concerns affecting North Carolina law enforcement agencies who participate in our insurance pools. In response to these liability concerns, we developed a risk management review to assist in the identification and mitigation of high-liability activities carried out in police operations.

We are confident that this review will help law enforcement departments mitigate their liability exposure. Included in the development of this program was a review by the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police (NCACP), which supports the program and sees it as a valuable tool for law enforcement. Robert Hassell, who is NCACP President and Reidsville Police Chief, shared his support: "As a police chief, the Law Enforcement Risk Management Review will help ensure departments are operating with policies and procedures that are recognized as acceptable practices by their peers. I see this review as a valuable resource for Chiefs to improve their departments internally. More importantly, it will help them better serve their respective communities across our state."

The purpose of this instrument is to assess an agency’s adherence to best practices, court decisions, and policies and procedures related to high-liability activities in law enforcement. The goal is to mitigate liability exposure, enhance officer safety, and validate that training and operating procedures are meeting industry standards.

The risk management review will focus on the following high liability areas:

  • Training
  • Supervision
  • Performance Management - A review of the department’s disciplinary process as it relates to the adherence to rules and policies.
  • Department’s review of high-liability incidents involving the analysis of internal affairs investigations, civilian complaints, early warning system information, use of force, and officer/suspect injury patterns.
  • Policy revision cycle and legal review.

The topics reviewed in these areas cover 11 administrative and 28 operational practices, and are focused on those activities that contribute to accidents, injuries, and liability claims. The risk management review will be performed by our public safety risk consultant, Tom Anderson, who has over 20 years of experience in law enforcement, including serving as a police chief. Tom will work with departments who may need assistance with enhancing their programs to meet the standards required to successfully complete the review.

Our members will be happy to know that there is no additional cost for this service. It is free for all participants in the Property and Liability pool.

Many police chiefs and managers have expressed their interest in participating in this service and welcome a professional risk review of their law enforcement operations. For additional information on how your police department can participate, contact Tom Anderson, public safety risk consultant, at tanderson@nclm.org or 919-715- 2573.