New Warren police chief lays out plans

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Residents in Warren got the chance on Monday to hear from the city’s new police chief.

A meet-and-greet was held at the First United Methodist Church.  About 30 people turned out to hear Chief Eric Merkel talk about his plans for police protection in the city.

One change the chief already has made is moving six officers to a street crimes unit.

“A lot of the time they don’t have the time to set up surveillance  for four to six hours to see if there is actually something going on at one of these problem houses.  The street crimes unit will be able to do that. If they get a gun off the street, they will be able to track that down through ATF and we can pursue charges both federally and on the state level to see where we can get the most prison time for some of these career criminals that are on the streets,” Merkel said.

Merkel also wants to strengthen the city’s block watch programs by having them register with the department to get updated information on crimes going on in their neighborhood.

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