Total gun crimes were up 8 percent. Violent crimes overall were down 4 percent, driven by a 10 percent decline in aggravated assaults.

While total crime is up slightly this year in the Northwest District, advocates say Delgado worked with the community on an array of issues, including liquor licenses and street lighting.

His efforts on illegal dirt bikes led to the creation of a special email account for residents to submit tips. He partnered with a local church to renovate the Northwest District police station, a project that is nearing completion.

"He has been an excellent district commander," said Patricia Rideout-Howard, president of the Northwest District Community Council. "He's given us direct information about what the Police Department is doing in different sectors and where the drug activity and prostitution was and where it was shifting."

Batts said Delgado has done an "excellent job" in the Northwestern District and will have significant responsibilities as night commander.

"He comes with good strategies for crime, and I need someone sharp when I'm not there," Batts said.

Of the community's concerns, he said, "Every time there are moves, you have to walk through that."

Hyatt is often referred to as a "rising star." She has gone from a lieutenant in charge of a three-district initiative in Southwest Baltimore in 2011, to second-in-charge of the Southeastern District in December of that year, to commander of the Central District in December, and seven months later a lieutenant colonel overseeing multiple districts.

For years, the department has had two "area commanders," dividing the east and west sides. With the creation of a third, Hyatt will oversee the Central, Southeastern and Southern districts. Lt. Col. Dan Lioi will oversee Eastern, Northeastern and Northern; Lt. Col. Clifton McWhite will oversee Western, Northwestern, and Southwestern.

"I needed the districts around the harbor together — they have similar issues with tourism, clubs," Batts said. "The Northern has issues that cross over to Northeastern, whose issues cross over into Eastern."

The same is true for the west-side districts, he said.

Col. Garnell Green jumped from the homicide unit to the high-profile chief of patrol position, and now moves to work on "special projects" in the new accountability bureau.

With some department veterans questioning the move, Batts said Green will take on a new "inspector general" role, reviewing citizen complaints and use-of-force policies. Col. Darryl DeSousa takes Green's place as patrol chief.

Green's new job "is one of the most specific high-profile positions we can have," Batts said. I'm moving someone at the rank of colonel to that position to prove how important this is to me."

Tapp-Harper, who has held the Northern District command position for two years, will leave the district to lead the Special Investigations Section, which handles sex offenses.

The sex offense commander, Martin Bartness, takes over the high-profile Central District vacated by Hyatt.

Clarke, who said she thinks highly of Tapp-Harper, couldn't understand why she was being subjected to what the councilwoman believed was a lateral move.

"When I worked with commissioners in the past, we had conversations before decisions were made," Clarke said. "And I had my chance to express my opinion before it became a newspaper story. This has not happened, and I am strongly offended that in the midst of the problems we're having in our city neighborhoods in the last couple of weeks one of the most effective commanders for my people has been plucked out for a lateral move for an office job."

While police have been battling a surge in shootings this summer that killed 19 since June 21, Clarke said, the Northern District hasn't experienced as much of the violence as other parts of the city.

"It takes my breath away," Clarke said. "Here we are with a crime crisis on our hands. Here's a district that's held the line. … We have had great service, great response, and in reward for that leadership, our major is transferred to a desk job, leaving us to basically fend for ourselves while some new person comes in to figure out where Remington is and where Harwood is and what's going on."

Bartness inherited an embattled Special Investigations Section that was still implementing reforms after coming under fire for underreporting sex crimes but had made strides in creating a more responsive and transparent unit.

"Martin Bartness had a real commitment to fixing the problem," said Lisae Jordan, executive director of the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault. "Although we still have a ways to go, it was important that he was involved and important that someone with his skill and commitment to the issue worked to address the problems because they were serious."