Updated: Apr 25, 2020
Representative Blanton (R), who is a retired Major in the KSP has introduced BR 370 that appears to give law enforcement officers "complete immunity from civil liability for a law enforcement officer's operation of a vehicle when responding to an emergency or pursuing a suspect." This is a relatively short bill so we will post the entire text of it at the end.
First and foremost we are not here to bash law enforcement, they provide a valuable service to our communities that often times go without thanks and are underappreciated; however, that does not mean they are without fault.
Section 2 we have no problem with, it puts the liability on the suspect for their actions and rightly so, but if a law enforcement officer drives recklessly in the performance of their duties
Section 1 lets them completely off the hook, no one else gets that luxury in the performance of their job duties. If they are not reckless then they are not to blame, but if they are they should be held accountable. We understand its a dangerous job, and they are doing it on behalf of the public and that there is an argument to be made that when performing these duties they shouldn't have to think about the liability of their actions while performing those duties. Unfortunately the number one cause of line-of-duty deaths is vehicle related incidents according to the CDC, which they claim are in most cases avoidable.
So with so many deaths of law-enforcement officers due to vehicle related incidents maybe the removal of all liability and granting them complete immunity might make them less cautious and actually cause more accidents and cause more deaths. This would also put citizens more risk and we don't think law enforcement officers want that anymore than the rest of us. We believe that after an investigation, if it is found the officer acted responsibly and an accident still occurred then they should not be held responsible, but there should also not be blanket immunity granted, that's for a judge to sort out.
*Note the bill doesn't state who is responsible, such as the employer/law enforcement agency if a liability was to occur as a result of the law enforcement officers reckless actions.
AN ACT relating to law enforcement officers.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:
SECTION 1. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 411 IS CREATED TO
READ AS FOLLOWS:
(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, a law enforcement officer
shall be entitled to qualified immunity from civil liability in an action arising
from a law enforcement officer's operation of a vehicle when:
(a) Responding to an emergency call; or
(b) In pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law.
(2) If an alleged injury was caused or proximately caused by the actual or suspected
violator of the law, a law enforcement officer shall be entitled to complete
immunity from civil liability in an action arising from the officer's operation of a
vehicle when in pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law.