It's a new chapter for the Warren Police Department after well over a decade of investigation and oversight by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Because of cooperation and compliance by Warren police, the Justice Department has moved to terminate a consent decree in place since 2012.

So why did the Department of Justice come to Warren in the first place and what has changed in that time?

Warren city leaders say they've come a long way since video from 2003 captured images of Warren police arresting Lyndell Kimble.  The video captured national attention for the alleged brutality of the arrest.  It's just one of several alleged excessive force and illegal search cases that caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Justice.  

After an investigation, the Justice Department found that Warren police were using force as a practice in violation of an arrestee's Fourth Amendment rights.

But Warren Mayor Doug Franklin says Warren police have turned a corner, "This is a really important day for the city of Warren.  It's a milestone, but it is by no means an end to the work that we need to do."

Warren Police Chief Eric Merkel, who inherited the problem says, 
this was the proudest day of his career.

"The DOJ saw a systemic like top-down issue with the police department.  The administration is not investigating these cases; there is no sound constitutionally based policies, the training that we had was on bad policies.  But the police officers wanted a better police department, and that's why they embraced changes," Chief Merkel said.

To the credit of Chief Merkel and Police Legal Advisor Tracy Timko-Sabau, Law Director Greg Hicks says the department is now a force they can be proud of.

"We use our own videos as teaching tools.  So we go in there and say, 'Look here we did this right, look here we did this wrong,'" Hicks said.

Not only does the police department now have at least 50 officers trained in crisis response, but there are also now strict policies in place clearly defining the use of force, and oversight to make sure no one's rights are violated.  Part of that process is Chief Merkel's Use of Force Review Board, and The Greater Warren-Youngstown Urban League is pleased with the progress.

Thomas Conley, president, and CEO of The Greater Warren-Youngstown Urban League, said, "They've come a long way.  I will tip my hat off to that. However, the job is not done."

Conley says he still believes putting in place a Citizens Review Committee is the way to go for ultimate oversight.

The department has also made great strides in the amount of training each officer receive, and it's become a model around the nation Chief Merkel said.

Changes that have cut down on police lawsuits and complaints,  while bridging the gap with the community they serve.

A federal judge still has to make a ruling on whether to terminate the consent decree officially.