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Police chief won't appeal suspension

Saturday, January 31, 2004

The chief will have until November to complete the training.
WARREN -- The city's police chief has decided not to appeal his 10-day suspension.
Police Chief John Mandopoulos said Friday that he has decided that since the discipline was given to him by the prior administration and he is now working well with the new mayor and safety-service director, it was best to not pursue the matter.
"I'm seeing some cooperation now with the new administration," Mandopoulos said. "There are other legal things that are going to happen to the former administration that I think will make people see I was wrongly accused."
Mandopoulos declined to elaborate.
Former Mayor Hank Angelo had recommended that the chief be suspended for 10 days without pay after administratively charging him with gross neglect of duty, gross dereliction of duty and conduct unbecoming an officer.
The chief appealed that decision to the city's civil service commission. Commission members upheld the suspension and said each day the chief attends an Ohio Association of Police Chiefs training session, one day of his suspension will be scratched.
The chief has until Nov. 10 to complete the training.
Mayor Michael O'Brien said he was pleased with the chief's decision not to appeal.
"This shows cooperation on the chief's part and is a move forward," O'Brien said.
Former Mayor Hank Angelo had said he suspended the chief because he wanted people to know that the type of behavior exhibited by the chief and another officer wouldn't be tolerated.
What sparked conflict
The administrative charges come from a confrontation in May outside the 77 Soul nightclub on U.S. Route 422, and allegations that the chief intimidated a television reporter.
The chief and another officer were seen on videotape taken May 24 mugging for a camera operated by Charles Adams and sticking their eyes into the camera lens. The chief has maintained that he and Officer Manny Nites were just joking with Adams, but Adams has contended he didn't consider the matter a joke.
In the other part of the charges, a letter sent to city officials from Atty. Stephen T. Bolton, who represents WFMJ TV-21, says that Mandopoulos confronted reporter Michelle Nicks about several issues, telling her he was going to give the home addresses of local journalists to drug dealers. He also said he planned to get area labor unions to organize a boycott of businesses that advertise with WFMJ and The Vindicator, according to the letter.
The chief has denied the allegations.