Frazier promotes 5 to upper echelon posts

March 29, 1994|By Michael James and Jim Haner | Michael James and Jim Haner,Sun Staff Writers

Reaching down into the ranks, Baltimore's police commissioner promoted five commanders to the upper echelon of the department yesterday with orders to oversee such key operations as recruitment, training and emergency dispatching.

The move was the first in a series of expected transfers in the department's command structure. It effectively created a cadre of hand-picked officers to carry out Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier's reforms in the department.

"There has been a need to add some administrative muscle to the higher levels, and these officers I'm promoting are going to give us that," Mr. Frazier said.

Most significant, three of the officers will be given duties normally handled by deputy commissioners -- positioning a new generation of leaders within the department.

Mr. Frazier also said the heads of the police force's homicide and narcotics divisions will be replaced as part of the first phase of his controversial "rotation policy." The policy requires officers to move out of specialized units after serving for several years.

"We're also doing some reshuffling [in homicide and narcotics.] It's part of a career-development process we've been talking about for weeks now. We need multifaceted, multi-skilled leaders. I need to have my quality people moved to other places and to develop other skills," Mr. Frazier said.

Mr. Frazier promoted three to the rank of colonel -- the rank just below deputy commissioner -- and two to the rank of major.

The three colonels -- Joseph R. Bolesta Jr., Ronald L. Daniel, and Steven A. Crumrine -- will be assigned to administrative bureaus overseeing such operations as communications, central records, computer systems, personnel and training. All are areas the commissioner has targeted for improvements and overhauls.

The two officers promoted to major, Capt. John E. Gavrilis and Lt. Leonard D. Hamm, will be assigned as district commanders.

Mr. Frazier said the changes represent his first step toward accomplishing some of the goals he has repeatedly spoken about in public meetings since he took over in January.

"What this does is it brings a number of very qualified individuals to the highest levels of the department," he said. "It gives me the administrative leverage that I need to really move things along at the pace that we need to move them."

Chief among Mr. Frazier's goals are plans to revamp the city's 911 communications system and improve the recruitment and training of new officers. Improving the 911 system will cost the city about $60 million, but Mr. Frazier says it will result in better and speedier service.

"It's the kind of project that you can't make any mistakes on. I need my best people on it," Mr. Frazier said.

He also said that two captains, each with more than two decades of experience, will be shifted out of their specialized units to make way for fresh leadership.

The shifts will be part of the the commissioner's rotation policy, which is designed to give officers wider experience and not lock them into one place for the bulk of their careers.

John J. MacGillivary, 59, a commander of the city's homicide unit for the last 10 years, and Michael J. Andrew, 52, who has headed the narcotics unit since September 1991, will be reassigned to as-yet unnamed police precincts.

Their replacements have not been named.

The commissioner said he plans to implement the rotation policy through the department in about six months. "We're going to give people some time to get ready for it. I don't think it's fair to say to somebody we're going to turn your life upside down and we're going to do it right now," Mr. Frazier said.

Those promoted to colonel, along with their current ranks, are:

* Colonel Bolesta, 53, a 27-year veteran who was recently named by Mr. Frazier as the police force's coordinator of human resources. Colonel Bolesta will continue in his present job overseeing the department's training and recruitment policies.

He formerly headed the Violent Crimes Task Force, and served as the executive officer in the department's patrol bureau.

* Major Crumrine, 41, a 19-year veteran who most recently was the director of the department's fiscal division. He previously served in the information management bureau and in the office of the chief of patrol.

His primary responsibility will be putting together plans for the new 911 system. He will also oversee central records and computer systems.

* Major Daniel, 44, a 20-year veteran and currently the head of personnel. He will work directly under Mr. Frazier overseeing legal affairs, planning and research, and staff inspections.

He formerly worked in the special operations and internal investigation divisions.

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