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Abstract

This essay argues that indemnification of police officers found liable in civil suits works against deterring officers from future misconduct. The essay explains how the existing indemnification scheme results in tax payers funding these judgments and settlements and explains the mechanisms surrounding representation of a defendant officer and the city's indemnification of a decision. The author suggests a solution that allows for compensation of plaintiffs and deterrence of officers. Under the proposed solution, judges should always allow compensation for plaintiffs but should consider the officer's prior history of misconduct, the disciplinary measures taken against such misconduct, and the defendant's ability to pay in determining the portion the city should indemnify. The author also proposes that the indemnification scheme should apply regardless of whether the officer acted within his scope of employment.

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