Buried in the consent agenda (where transparency goes to die) for last Monday night’s town board meeting was item 10.B – Approve budget amendment recognizing insurance revenue in the amount of $28,493.51 and appropriate to the Police Department’s auto insurance account. No, HPD hasn’t gone into the insurance business and that $28K doesn’t represent premiums from selling insurance policies; this money simply represents claims being paid on HPD’s insurance policy with the NC League of Municipalities. I know the finance department might consider this “revenue” because it’s money coming into the town, but the town should at least stop referring to claims being paid out as “revenue” on the agenda lest the town wants to make it seem as if our officers being involved in accidents where they are at fault is some sort of net positive for the town.
The summary page for this agenda item in the full agenda packet stated this $28K involved eight accident claims, three of which the town was at fault. I requested more information from the town and was provided the documents attached below. [I have redacted the names of the other drivers involved.] Chief Spruill was involved in a collision on March 1, 2018, Officer Daniel Johnson, Jr. was involved in a collision on April 16, 2018, and Officer Bergin was involved in a single car accident during an ice storm on January 17, 2018.
How do these accidents affect the town’s insurance rates? Were any citations issued as a result of these accidents? How many at fault accidents have HPD officers been involved in this year and how does HPD’s at fault accident rate compare with other departments statewide? What, if any, remedial or disciplinary measures are taken by HPD when an officer is involved in an at fault accident? Just a few of the questions that could have been asked from the dais Monday night if this item wasn’t buried in consent.