Kansas Police Dept. May Pay To Increase Insurance Limits By Millions
Manhattan Mercury, The (KS)
Jan. 19—The Riley County Police Department received recommendations from its insurance broker to increase its law enforcement and auto liability insurance limits by millions.
On Tuesday, The Riley County police board members discussed insurance recommendations from Assurance Partner for higher insurance limits. The department would pay an additional $37,645 to raise law enforcement liability insurance limits from $3 million to $5 million and auto liability insurance from $500,000 to $2 million.
The liability insurance includes auto, workers compensation and professional liability. The law enforcement liability insurance makes up $32,129 of the $37,645, and the auto liability increase represents the remaining $5,516. Unused personnel funds will likely fund the recommended $37,645.
RCPD Capt. Josh Kyle said Assurance recommends increasing liability insurance because of law enforcement insurance increases nationwide.
"We have not seen a lot of claims or lawsuits or a strong increase in those," Kyle said. "But of course, as you can imagine, all it takes is one unfortunate incident, and you find yourself very quickly exposed to a tremendous amount of financial liability."
The police department has to decide whether they want to implement the increases for 2022 by Jan. 31. "I think in today's environment, we would probably be remiss if we didn't do it right now and have it in effect for 2022 as long as we have the money," law board member Robert Ward said.
The increased insurance policies will be a part of the 2023 budget discussion regardless of whether the police department decides to increase this year.
Additionally, Kyle said the police department had a $29,000 increased payment for its current insurance because they had no other option.
Kyle said a decision on the insurance caps has not been made yet and will be determined internally.
Full salary payment
The law board unanimously approved eliminating recruit pay and letting the police department advertise officer salaries to attract potential employees to RCPD.
Previously, RCPD implemented recruit pay to incentivize employees to complete their training programs, and the department didn't initially pay the employee the full amount allowable in the budget.
"For those positions, you are paid less than that because you are in recruit status," Kyle said. "In order to get a promotion, you have to complete all of your training and when you get that promotion, you're now promoted to the position of police officer instead of recruit officer, and you get a significant pay bump."
Kyle said RCPD feels it needs to pay the employees fully when they start.
He said the department has other ways of incentivizing employees to complete training. RCPD said the policy change will not affect the budget.
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