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WARREN Talks work on race relations



Published: Fri, January 18, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Ongoing talks aim to improve relations between minorities and the police.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

and AMANDA C. DAVIS

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN --The U.S. Department of Justice is continuing to meet with city officials about race relations.

Mayor Hank Angelo said an official with the Justice Department was in town Tuesday and spent hours talking to residents and lawmakers.

The mayor declined to say what was discussed but said it had to do with ways to improve relationship between minorities and the police department.

What was done: The Justice Department met with Angelo and Fred Harris, safety-service director, at city hall and then met with residents at another location, the mayor said.

"The Justice Department is proposing a number of ways to improve relationships," Angelo said. "We are planning to meet again at the end of the month."

The mayor declined to say if he felt the city had trouble with race relations.

Harris recently said that he felt some members of the police department had trouble with him because he is black. Police officers denied the allegation.

City officials have been meeting on and off with the Justice Department and Warren Minority Coalition to help improve race relations.

The coalition was chosen by Birdia Roberts, president of the local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Members include the Rev. Edgar Fisher; Tom Conley, director of the Warren-Trumbull Urban League; and other black community leaders.

The coalition has taken issue with the city's hiring and recruitment practices, citizen complaint procedures and training for police officers. The group contends other problems are racial profiling and a lack of community policing.

What happened: Gustavo Gaynett, director of the U.S. Justice Department's Detroit office, said he got involved after receiving several calls from residents concerned about police and community relations.

The city is also looking to recruit and hire minorities for the police and fire departments.

Racial sensitivity training is also on the city's agenda, officials said.

sinkovich@vindy.comdavis@vindy.com




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