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April 21- April 24, 2017
Omni Shoreham Hotel 
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Saturday, April 22 • 10:05am - 11:05am
Seminar - Reducing Police and Fire Disciplinary and Liability Exposure

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Suits alleging misconduct by police officers constitute a major liability exposure for the affected jurisdictions; costing hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Additionally, efforts to discharge or otherwise discipline police and fire employees often are unsuccessful, resulting in both substantial back pay awards as well as forcing the reinstatement of problematic employees.
This presentation will address ways in which municipalities can reduce their exposure, based on the premise that municipal attorneys need to be proactive in helping their clients (the police and fire departments) avoid costly damages, rather than reactive and simply representing the client whenever a suit is filed. In terms of liability exposure, topics to be addressed include proactive, preventive measures (e.g., rigorous recruit screening) and early intervention systems. In terms of disciplinary exposure, topics to be addressed include the need for specialized, experienced counsel (including outside counsel) in arbitration/civil service proceedings, educating arbitrators/civil service commissioners on the unique disciplinary requirements for public safety employees, the jurisdiction’s stance on punitive damages, and challenging arbitration if feasible.
One of the presenters will focus on Baltimore’s experience pre and post Freddie Gray. For the past ten years, the City’s Law Department has taken a proactive role in advising the City’s police and fire departments with the aim of encouraging best practices and reducing civil liability—an approach the City calls “preventive lawyering.” This presenter will discuss the successes and challenges of this approach, the pivotal role of effective police discipline, and the impact of the U.S. Department of Justice consent decree for police reform.


Saturday April 22, 2017 10:05am - 11:05am EDT
Hampton Room