WARREN POLICE DEPARTMENT City officials: Justice Department plans to return

The law director says he doesn't know when the federal probe will be completed.
WARREN -- U.S. Justice Department officials spent three days here and plan to return, city officials say.
Mayor Michael O'Brien and Greg Hicks, city law director, said they had an exit interview with Justice Department officials Wednesday morning. The officials arrived in the city Monday.
"They told us they will come back, but they didn't say when," Hicks said. "They went down a list and told us some of their findings. They gave us the good and the bad and also said there were some items that needed further review."
Both Hicks and O'Brien declined to give specifics.
"They did say they were impressed with the [police] policy and procedures we had for a city of our size," O'Brien said. "They also realize that money is an issue and that we need more staff. As a result of being short staffed there are officers doing multiple tasks, which is difficult in the police business."
O'Brien said officials did say the city needs to work on the citizen complaint system, but he declined to give specifics.
"When this is over we will be able to say more," the mayor said.
Neither Hicks nor O'Brien knew when the Justice Department's investigation would be completed.
Eric Holland, spokesman for the Justice Department, declined to comment.
Strip searches
U.S. Justice Department officials appear to be concerned about alleged illegal strip searches by city police officers, according to Fred Harris, the city's former safety-service director.
Harris has said that he met with officials Tuesday and the majority of questions he was asked dealt with the strip-search allegations.
Harris, who was safety-service director under Mayor Hank Angelo for three years, said he spent just more than two hours talking to the officials.
The Justice Department began investigating the police department in January after numerous allegations of illegal strip searches and excessive force by officers.
Hicks said he believes the Justice Department will send officials a letter in a few weeks detailing their findings.

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