Cops Wearing Cameras: What Happens When Privacy and Accountability Collide?

Police departments from Bakersfield, Calif., to Scranton, Pa., and beyond are piloting and deploying body-worn cameras (BWC) in increasing numbers, a movement happening just as privacy issues gain greater attention across the nation.

While many hold out hope that BWCs will bring greater accountability and transparency of police actions, the technology also has the potential to cut into citizens’ privacy.

New York Points The Way In Dealing With Opioid Crisis

Could medical marijuana help solve America’s opioid crisis? The state of New York is convinced that it can.

The New York State Department of Health recently began urging doctors prescribing opioids for patients with severe pain to consider medical marijuana as an alternative. The guidance was part of an emergency regulation that went into effect July 12.

The national opioid crisis on average causes 115 U.S. overdose deaths a day in the United States. New York has been focused on reducing its share of that toll. In 2016, opioids killed 18 of every 100,000 New Yorkers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New York’s State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker in June explained why the state is making this welcome move. “Medical marijuana has been shown to be an effective treatment for pain that may also reduce the chance of opioid dependence.”

U.S. Seeks More Cooperation with Private Sector to Fight Cyber Attacks

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday said it will bolster collaboration with the private sector to defend the nation against cyber attacks by working more closely with industry to combat emerging threats.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen unveiled plans to set up a national risk management center where the government will initially work with financial firms, energy companies and telecommunications providers to help identify industry security weaknesses, develop response plans and run cyber drills.

Total Cost of Risk Declines Again

Abundant risk capital exerted downward pressure on insurance prices in 2017, resulting in a reduction in total cost of risk for the fourth year in a row, according to the 2018 RIMS Benchmark Survey.

Produced in collaboration with Advisen, the survey found that the average total cost of risk—defined as the costs of insurance, retained losses and risk management department administration—fell to $9.75 per $1,000 of revenue in 2017, a 3% decrease from $10.07 in 2016. The decline was driven by decreases in property, liability and workers compensation, as well as overall administrative costs.

Marin Firefighters Renew Prevention Pleas Amid State Crises

(TNS) - As wildfires continue to rage across California — including the deadly Carr Fire that injured three Marin firefighters last week — Marin County fire Chief Jason Weber said it’s time to remind residents to be vigilant about fire prevention.

“What’s going on through my head is that I can’t believe it’s only July,” Weber said Monday. “How in the heck are we going to make it another three months, plus?”

Northern California Wildfire Rages; More Deaths, Evacuations Reported

Thousands of dazed evacuees struggled to keep their emotions in check while trying to take care of themselves and their pets as a deadly wildfire in Northern California raged into its fourth day.

Anna Noland, 49, was evacuated twice in three days before learning through video footage that the house she last saw under dark and windy skies had burned.

Calif. Carr Fire Claims 6 Lives

Just when it seemed like things couldn’t get any worse in California, the Carr wildfire ignited, claiming six lives so far. The fire in Northern California near the city of Redding has been burning since July 23 and is now one of the largest in the state.

Almost 90,000 acres have burned, destroying more than 500 homes and commercial buildings and damaging 135 structures. Firefighters, who are working 24- to 36-hour shifts with little rest in between, said they are making progress and are now on the offense rather than in a defensive mode.

“Although it’s too early for credible insured loss estimates, the current California wildfires could noticeably impact exposed insurers’ 3Q 2018 earnings,” KBW said in a statement today.

Experts say urban sprawl, climate change heighten wildfire risk

A fire that started in a rural community in Northern California underscored a new reality in the state when days later it suddenly roared through neighborhoods on the edge of the city of Redding: Urban areas are increasingly vulnerable to wildfires.

In the last year, neighborhoods in the Northern California wine country city of Santa Rosa and the Southern California beach city of Ventura have been devastated.

Hotter weather attributed to climate change is drying out vegetation, creating more intense fires that spread quickly from rural areas to city subdivisions, climate and fire experts say. But they also blame municipalities that are expanding housing into previously undeveloped areas.

California Workers’ Comp Changes Helping System, Division Chief Says

California’s workers’ compensation system has undergone numerous changes since the implementation of the sweeping reforms that started in 2013 with Senate Bill 863.

In the last few years medical provider fraud has been addressed by subsequent new laws, a plague of liens that burdened the system are being addressed, and there’s even a new drug formulary.

9 California Restaurants Cited for Failing to Provide Workers’ Comp

A joint enforcement strike force issued more than $200,000 in administrative fines to nine Contra Costa County, Calif. restaurants for failing to provide workers’ compensation insurance.

Investigators from the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office, Department of Industrial Relations’ Labor Commissioner’s Office, and Employment Development Department conducted surprise inspections in June and July at Contra Costa County restaurants suspected of evading the obligation to provide workers’ comp insurance to employees.

Pages