Municipalities faced with rising crime rates, tighter budgets and an increasingly vocal populace often are pressed to make policy decisions which sacrifice important interests. When fiscal considerations predominate, there arises the danger that local police departments will be unable to fulfill their duty to ensure order in society without disturbing citizens' enjoyment of their civil rights. Until recently, improperly trained, supervised or disciplined police of- ficers merely subjected municipalities to embarrassment. However, with increasing success, citizens are arguing that they should be awarded damages against the municipality in every case where their civil rights have been deprived through police misconduct. Sympathetic courts are moving closer to this position, predicating liability not only upon express municipal policy which violates civil rights but also upon official inaction in the face of recurrent or egregious police misconduct.
Brenda D. Crocker,
When Cops are Robbers-Municipal Liability for Police Misconduct Under Section 1983 and Bivens,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol15/iss2/5