The Public Entities Pool of Ohio is an insurance group which solely provides insurance for public entities. When an entity becomes too risky to insure, that entity’s coverage is terminated.
Originally it was said to be a lapse insurance which caused the shut down of both the Lincoln Heights fire department and the police department Thursday at 12:00 am. The fire department’s insurance was quickly reinstated however the police department is proving to be quite the uninsurable risk.
“It was a yearly renewal,” Lincoln Heights Village Manager Stephanie Summerow-Dumas said. “It was time for a renewal and (PEP) made the decision (to cut coverage) because of certain variables.”
According to PEP Executive Vice President JT. Babish, these “variables” are lawsuits stemming from wage disputes, employment harassment, wrongful terminations, allegations of wrongful arrest and violations of civil rights within the departments.
Nine of these lawsuits are currently ongoing which led to PEP dropping the coverage claiming that they could not keep up with the cost of all the suits.
“Any company would look at that and see if they want to be vulnerable to offer insurance,” Summerow-Dumas said. “I’m sure that came into play and they looked at some of that.”
In the interim, nearby Lockland Police Department and Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office have taken over emergency services for the town of Lincoln Heights.
Ohio Rep. Alicia Reese said she contacted the governor asking for help, stating that, “Safety has to be the top priority for the residents, both in the short and long term.” Ironically, had safety actually been the priority of the police department, instead of felony criminal action, abuse, sexual harassment, and brutality, Lincoln Heights would not be in this position.
The closure of the Lincoln Heights police department comes just days after a revealing investigation into the overwhelming corruption within the department. The investigation revealed that the department had not only hired, but heavily promoted an officer with a felony background, who was later fired for felony theft on duty.
The investigation also found that one officer was fired and rehired who had a history of harassing female drivers and was an actual member of several biker gangs known for their felonious activity.
The Public Entities Pool of Ohio choosing to drop the Lincoln Heights police department’s coverage is heartening news. Its illustrates the true power of taking responsibility for one’s own actions and that writing corrupt departments a blank check to behave however they want to, is a terrible practice.
While PEP is funded through tax payer dollars it was still able to cause a drastic reaction to police corruption. Imagine if the individual officers were forced to carry their own personal liability plans in order to be cops. Then we would see some real change.