D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier yesterday announced a reorganization of the city”s 3,900-member force, saying she wants to streamline the department to make it more efficient.
The first major overhaul of the department in nearly 10 years includes reducing the number of assistant police chiefs from eight to six and eliminating two senior executive director positions that were the equivalent of assistant chiefs.
“I thought the command structure was just too large, so I tried to eliminate some of that … so we could work more as a team,” Chief Lanier said.
Chief Lanier, 40, also is increasing the department”s use of technology. She is distributing 400 laptop computers to patrol officers, automating police reports and encouraging commanders to keep residents informed about crime by using Web-based community message boards.
She also is putting patrol officers under one citywide command, which will allow them to be assigned to areas with the greatest need.
The changes are scheduled to take effect Sunday.
With the reorganization, there will be fewer black assistant chiefs under Chief Lanier, who is white. Four of eight assistant chiefs were black under former Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey; two of Chief Lanier”s six assistant chiefs are black.
Some residents have complained that appointments under Mayor Adrian M. Fenty do not reflect the city”s majority-black status.
Mr. Fenty said he approved of the reorganization but wanted Chief Lanier to set her own priorities.