Unequipped, Underfunded, Understaffed: Investing in Your Officers to Manage Risk

Law enforcement agencies are faced with tough decisions every day to ensure their communities are protected. An agency’s ability to fulfill this responsibility comes down to three vital components: education and training, finances, and staffing. Each of these three elements can, if managed appropriately, reduce risk for an agency.

In law enforcement, the stigma associated with risk management is likely tied to the most common liability claims, such as vehicle crashes, use of excessive force, false arrest, inappropriate off-duty conduct, property and evidence management, and unlawful search and seizure. These are re-occurring liabilities that most agencies will encounter. Given the complexity of risk management issues, why don’t agencies invest more in these common areas? In today’s atmosphere, agencies are (rightfully) willing to invest in rebuilding community trust, but some agencies fail to recognize the importance of simultaneously investing in their officers, only to have to scramble to do so after an incident reveals a hidden weakness or gap. What if the liabilities associated with risk management can be minimized with simple investments in agency personnel? What if these investments resulted in reduced complaints and fewer safety issues?