Risks Not Taken

Risks Not Taken

By Susan Robertson

Rex Barton travels 20,000 miles a year helping local law enforcement agencies throughout Tennessee solve their everyday problems.
Through his work as the UT Municipal Technical Advisory Service’s (MTAS) police management consultant, Barton helps keep down insurance costs. Here’s how.

The Tennessee Municipal League (TML) Risk Management Pool funds Barton’s position with MTAS, an agency of the UT Institute for Public Service. The TML Risk Management Pool made a 10-year pledge to the Institute for Public Service in 1994 to fund the position, and generously extended the funding in 2004. Created to provide insurance coverage to local governments, the TML Risk Management Pool is not a typical insurance company, but a cooperative risk-sharing arrangement providing risk management and insurance services to its members. Participating members pay a premium, receive coverage, and make claims against the coverage.

“MTAS did not have a law-enforcement consultant, and the TML Risk Management Pool realized if it could help cities decrease their risks then it in turn would pay fewer claims,” says Dr. Mary Jinks, UT vice-president of public service. “With the many projects Rex Barton is involved in around the state, his work keeps insurance premiums low for everybody.”

Dawn Crawford, president for the TML Risk Management Pool, thinks the gift is a “very good benefit” for all involved.

“Rex serves as a resource for cities. He provides training and consulting and is available to answer questions for cities,” Crawford says. “He works closely with our loss control department and is in constant contact with our consultants. There’s no doubt this is a statewide benefit.”

Among Barton’s accomplishments is overseeing an assessment center that helps police departments develop a professional process for hiring officers and police chiefs. But it’s a recent initiative that makes him particularly proud.

“For the last few years we’ve worked on developing a statewide accreditation program for local police departments, and it’s paid off. We have about thirty cities in various stages of the accreditation process,” Barton says. “Bristol and McMinnville participated in the pilot program and are now statewide accredited agencies. This program, which includes a hundred and fifty measures for local police departments, is a valuable and cost-effective way to enhance overall agency effectiveness and professionalism.”

The accreditation program, managed by the Tennessee Association of Police Chiefs, encourages cooperation, recognizes professional standing, encourages professional services, and ensures public safety throughout Tennessee.

The UT Institute for Public Service set a Campaign for Tennessee goal of $3 million and, with the generous support of individuals and organizations such as Crawford and the Tennessee Risk Management Pool, has surpassed that goal.