Maryland State Police combined drug and criminal investigations yesterday in a restructuring move that the agency's superintendent said would streamline operations and increase staff levels for community policing.
Lt. Col. Larry E. Harmel, second in command on the force, will be in charge of the new Drug and Criminal Investigations Bureau, which will have 300 troopers and officers.
The change also will mean new supervisory assignments in the field for eight detective sergeants, with duties that will free other personnel for highway and community policing, officials said.
"We're streamlining our operations," Col. David B. Mitchell, state police superintendent, said yesterday. "We're working smarter, not harder. By combining the drug and criminal investigations bureaus, it frees up detective sergeants and puts more troopers out into the street."
Initial plans for combining criminal and drug investigations were announced in July, when Colonel Mitchell promoted three officers to top jobs and eliminated a top aide position in the first phase of his restructuring plans.
In other department transfers, Maj. Cynthia Smith was moved from a personnel management post to head the Western region barracks, which covers Hagerstown, Cumberland and Frederick; and Maj. George Hall, formerly commander of the staff inspections division, was appointed head of the Eastern region, which covers Centreville, Easton, Princess Anne and Berlin.