Warren resolves complaints of excessive police force

WARREN, Ohio - After six years, a Justice Department probe into complaints of excessive force by Warren police has been concluded.

A settlement agreement between the city and the Justice Department was announced on Friday by the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, Steve Dettelbach.

"We are here today to announce an agreement that we are confident will ensure the safety and the rights of the citizens of Warren while also keeping police officers safe," Dettelbach said.

Complaints of excessive force brought national attention to Warren and prompted the Justice Department investigation in 2004.

The U.S. attorney says the consent decree is the result of six years of collaborative work by city leaders and civil rights division of the justice department.

"It sends a message to the citizens of Warren that we have all heard your complaints and we are committed to moving forward together to address them," Detttelbach said.

Keys points in agreement are:

Policy Reform: Including detailed procedures for citizens to file complaints.

Supervision: Including a program for early intervention to address potential problems.

Accountability: Every use of force incident must be fully documented.

Annual Training: On use of force and the tools to de-escalate potential incidents.

Warren Mayor Doug Franklin says the agreement is a bench mark for the city moving forward.

"To make sure that we're doing everything in our power to make sure we have the best, most professional police department service the citizens of Warren," Franklin said.

The Justice Department says the agreement addresses the need for a strong police-citizen relationship

Councilman Bob Dean says the input from Justice will lead to sustainable solutions. "It's just nice to have an outside agency come in and say here's your template, now let's go to work," Dean said.

The Justice Department noted that Warren is not unique, that it currently has 20 active investigations of police departments on various civil rights issues.

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