This study examines claims data, prepared by an insurance carrier and obtained through an open records request, of police-involved incidents in Rochester, New York from 2001-2012. The dataset includes information about the incidents and financial outcomes accepted by claimants. Eighteen independent variables are broken up into three categories: claimant characteristics, claim characteristics, and situational characteristics. The research question guiding this study is: What, if any, claimant, claim, or situational characteristics impact final settlement amounts for claims stemming from police-involved incidents? Four theories are utilized to explain the phenomenon examined in this study: social capital, power differentials using Donald Black’s behavior of law, bureaucratic efficiency, and the postindustrial policing thesis. Descriptive statistics and bivariate analyses are conducted on the dataset (n = 453) and subset (n = 260). An Ordinary Least Squares regression was used on the subset; it identified five key predictors for final settlement amount: claims that last longer than 3 months; claims offered an immediate payout of greater than $500; claimant vehicle involved; auto impound or auction involved; and child involved. Over the course of 12 years, the City of Rochester limited its losses for police-involved claims to $4.9 million. Fifty-nine percent of claimants received a settlement and 73% of claims resolved within three months. The study indicates that the City prioritizes bureaucratic efficiency over fairness. Policy recommendations are offered. A future research agenda includes interviewing stakeholders, testing hypotheses, and gathering data from similarly-sized municipalities to see if the findings in Rochester hold in other cities in order to make informed generalizations about mid-sized municipalities and their claims processes.

Publication Date


Document Type

Master's Project

Student Type


Degree Name

Criminal Justice (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Department of Criminal Justice (CLA)


Irshad Altheimer


RIT – Main Campus