Letter to contain recommendations

Department of Justice officials did not interview local citizens.
WARREN -- U.S. Department of Justice officials will be making recommendations concerning the city police department in a technical assistance letter to city officials following their visit here this week.
Members of the team, which is probing allegations concerning strip searches and excessive force, interviewed police and civilian employees of the police department, according to Greg Hicks, city law director.
However, team members did not interview citizens concerned about alleged police misconduct, who had called the Warren-Trumbull Urban League in the hope of speaking to investigators.
Interviews forthcoming
Thomas S. Conley, league president, said a DOJ representative told him the investigators will interview complaining citizens by telephone or in a follow-up visit to Warren.
"It's important that the citizens don't feel lost in the shuffle, but this is a process that takes time," Conley said. "They shouldn't feel lost because progress is happening," he added.
About 50 people called the league asking for appointments with the DOJ team after the league issued a news release Friday.
The release announced the DOJ visit would begin Monday and urged concerned citizens to call the league to make appointments with investigators, Conley said. This week's visit was the team's third to Warren this year.
Hicks said the five-member team from DOJ's Office of Civil Rights in Washington, D.C., told city officials about the forthcoming technical assistance letter in a conference that concluded their visit late Wednesday morning.
The investigative team requested no documents from city officials during this visit, but team members said they might request some before issuing their letter, Hicks said.
"They gave us a brief synopsis of their interviews. They said they were going to go back and put their notes together," and produce the letter, Hicks said.
"They said they weren't sure if they would be back or not," Hicks added. "If they feel they need any additional information, they may be back."
Besides Hicks, those attending the conference were Mayor Michael O'Brien, Safety-Service Director Doug Franklin, and police Chief John Mandopoulos and his command staff. Hicks declined to discuss details of the conference, which he said lasted "less than an hour."
Eric Holland, a DOJ spokesman, declined to comment on the team's visit because he said it is part of a continuing investigation.

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