The chief wants to honor the city's past police force.
By PEGGY SINKOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- The city's finest in blue will soon be memorialized in black and white.
Police Chief John Mandopoulos said he plans to display framed black-and-white photographs of former officers on a wall at the municipal justice building to help the public remember all those who have served the community.
"I want to hang a picture of every officer that died in the line of duty, died while still active on the department, or retired from the department, on the wall," the chief said. "These men and women are all legends, and I want to preserve a part of the history of this department."
The chief said he has spent the last several months collecting photographs of the former officers. He noted that he would like to have the project completed by fall.
"I have about 80 photographs, and I believe there are about 150," Mandopoulos said. "Some of the photographs are in better shape than others, but what I am doing is having all of them enlarged so they will fit in a 5-by-7 frame."
Donation: Mandopoulos noted that the department's Fraternal Order of Police lodge has donated money to help buy the wooden frames. Each picture will be individually framed and placed in a wooden display case.
"Everyone will get the same size picture," the chief said. "A former police chief suggested to me that I should have the chief's pictures larger and placed on the top row, but I don't think that's right. We are all equally important."
The chief noted that under each picture he will have the date the officer started with the department and the date the officer left.
"I'd also like to try and find out a little bit of information about each person," Mandopoulos said. "You look at a lot of these faces and you just know there has to be a good story about them."
He noted that many people have commented to him that former Police Chief Frank Flowers, who died in a car crash on April 3, 1919, "looks like the typical turn-of-the-century lawman."
"The faces are part of our history, and we need to be able to see them and remember them," the chief said.
He added that he found a picture of Isabella Gray, who he thinks was the first female patrol officer in the city.
"According to our records, she started March 1, 1922," the chief said. "I haven't been able to find any records that there was a woman hired before that time."