Plan for Law Enforcement’s Unique Risk Exposures
The duties and responsibilities of law enforcement can require that deputies and corrections officers put themselves in harm’s way, but that does not mean that the risks cannot be minimized. MCIT works closely with sheriffs’ offices to provide risk management advice and tools to help them mitigate the potential safety, health and liability risks posed to their deputies and operations. MCIT member sheriffs and their staffs are encouraged to explore this website for details about MCIT coverage and managing risks in general.
MCIT Staff Is Ready to Assist with Your Challenges
The MCIT staff can assist members in their efforts to reduce losses and mitigate risks, including issues related to ergonomics, employee safety and wellness, and liability. Members are encouraged to contact their risk management and loss control consultants with their questions and concerns.
PATROL Online Law Enforcement Training Proves Effective in the Field
PATROL is a Web-based, on-demand training program that enables deputies to meet most of their annual classroom training requirements without taking time off of work or incurring travel expenses (e.g., mileage, lodging, food) and overtime pay. The program provides up to 36 Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) credits if individuals complete all sessions, while fulfilling seven Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training standards and classroom requirements for use of force. MCIT member organizations receive the discounted rate of $90 per year per person subscribed.
Training Safety Officer Program
The Training Safety Officer Program helps reduce law enforcement personnel injuries from training activities. A designated safety officer works in tandem with the training instructor to provide a safer experience for the training session without compromising its effectiveness.
Given the diverse activities of law enforcement, it is noteworthy that training is the second leading cause of injuries for MCIT member officers. Training injuries for law enforcement staff from 2013 through 2015 was approximately 300 percent higher than during the previous three years. These injuries cost more than $1 million. The rise in training injuries can be attributed in part to the increased realism of and scenario-based approaches to training.
The Training Safety Officer program seeks to reduce these injuries and is taken from the national award-winning program developed by the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust, the Association of Training Officers of Minnesota and multiple law enforcement and public safety departments.
Employee Assistance Program
The job of law enforcement often requires staff to face emotionally and psychologically challenging situations. Law enforcement officers and their families do not need to be alone in managing their emotional well-being. The MCIT Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides no-cost, confidential support for personal concerns that may affect employees’ job performance or home life. The EAP services are available to all full- and part-time MCIT member employees, their spouses/partners and dependents. The EAP is simple to use. It is confidential. It helps.
MCIT offers a variety of no-cost materials to help sheriffs increase awareness about the Employee Assistance Program among his or her staff. Options include brochures, wall posters, mini fliers, ready-to-send e-mails and more.
Best Practices to Reduce Losses from Vehicle Use
The MCIT loss control consultant for law enforcement can assist members in identifying and managing potential safety concerns related to driving for law enforcement. Contact Keith Ternes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1.866.547.6516.
‘10 Risk Exposures of Law Enforcement Vehicle Use’
Motor vehicle use is one of several potential high hazard aspects of law enforcement. The demands placed on sheriff’s offices require the use of a variety of vehicles. In addition to regular patrol cars, sheriff’s offices utilize tactical response vehicles, transport vans, boats, ATVs and even snowmobiles to accomplish their missions. Just as varied is the equipment placed within each vehicle. To protect this property and the employees that use it, procedures intended to reduce the risk of personal injury or loss of use of the equipment should be in place.
The 10 Risk Exposures of Law Enforcement Vehicle Use is a toolkit that identifies each exposure and offers recommendations and additional resources to help prevent losses related to people and property. Additionally, tips are provided on how to work with Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust (MCIT), the county’s coverage provider, to help expedite claims when they arise.
This resource is provided as a tool to reduce the frequency and severity of claims specific to law enforcement and to help reduce the adverse consequences when employees and equipment are injured or damaged. Good risk prevention measures can lead to fewer claims and, therefore, less contribution required from members, as well as an increased potential for dividends.
This resource does not cover defensive driving or specific policies and procedures related to vehicle use.
Driving Safety Resources
MCIT members also have access to other resources that can help reinforce safe driving habits:
- Videos: “Driver Education Volumes 1 and 2,” “Preventing Road Rage” and “Saved by the Belt”
- “Seat Belts Must Be Worn” stickers: These are great for placing at exits and in vehicles, and are available in two sizes. Members can request stickers at no cost by contacting MCIT.
- Deer hit prevention and awareness posters and short video: The materials remind drivers to slow down and watch for deer, and to take appropriate action when encountering deer on the road. Members can download posters and get video embed code.
Step Wisely: Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention Program
Like many occupations that expose workers to a variety of environments, law enforcement officers are susceptible to injury due to slips, trips and falls. Preventing slip, trip and fall accidents could save your organization significant costs, time and grief related to workers’ compensation injuries. The Step Wisely program provides eye-catching materials highlighting smart safety habits for employees and offers solutions to the many hazards that often contribute to a law enforcement officer’s injury due to a slip, trip or fall.
Return to Work Program
A return to work program provides an injured employee temporary, transitional work assignments as they recover from a work-related injury or illness. An effective program can significantly mitigate the county’s workers’ compensation costs, the department’s operating budget (e.g., overtime, retraining, etc.), as well as have a positive effect on the morale of the injured employee and the unit as a whole.
The MCIT staff can help members as they develop and update their return to work policies and procedures, as well as identify ways injured employees can be returned to work while they recover. LEARN MORE …
More Resources to Minimize Losses
- 10 Safety and Health Essentials for Law Enforcement: Provides valuable information about 10 safety and health areas that generate the most questions and concern from law enforcement, such as online training, return to work, infectious disease exposure, motor vehicle operations, ergonomics, volunteers and more.
- Body Cams: A white paper explores significant issues law enforcement agencies should consider when determining whether to have agents wear body cams. The model policy can be customized by members.
- MCIT Resource Library includes articles that address several issues of concern for law enforcement, including liability, data practices and privacy, volunteers, safety, workers’ compensation and property coverage.
- MCIT Speaker Services: MCIT can provide in-person training about several areas of concern for law enforcement, such as what to expect in a lawsuit, common law enforcement claims and risk management, employment issues and law enforcement, return to work programs, safety committees, and social media and the workplace. Learn more on the Speaker Services page.