Police commander moved out of Northwest District


The commander of the Northwestern police district -- who managed to hold on to his job last year when community leaders pressured the commissioner not to transfer him -- will be replaced as part of a series of command changes next month.

Maj. Barry Powell will be sent for training conducted by the FBI before returning for another assignment, said department spokesman Sam Ringgold. Replacing him will be Lt. Earl Dutton of the Southwestern District, who will be promoted to major. Three other lieutenants and a captain also will be promoted to major May 18.

The promotions and transfers represent the final stroke in a 15-month command shake-up by Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier that has purged the department of almost every senior manager and replaced them with aggressive, young officers. Of the old guard, only Maj. Bert F. Shirey Jr. -- the well-regarded commander of the Northeastern District -- remains.

In restructuring the department, Mr. Frazier wiped out an echelon of longtime deputy commissioners and eliminated the jobs. The move shocked longtime police managers accustomed to a system that often rewarded seniority over merit.

Mr. Frazier then began systematically replacing department heads and district commanders with new faces, insisting that only experienced street officers would be considered for command positions in the future.

Major Powell, who is black, was one of five district commanders reassigned in August by the new commissioner and was to have been replaced by a Jewish officer. That move prompted complaints from black leaders that the Jewish community had sought his ouster.

A meeting between black and Jewish leaders, called by Mr. Frazier in September, eased tensions and resulted in Major Powell keeping his job.

Another major change in the department will be the transfer of Capt. Harold F. Parrott from head of the crimes against persons section -- which includes the homicide unit -- to overseeing the new juvenile holding center at the Northern District.

Captain Parrott, a veteran of almost four decades, will be transferred just one year after he was promoted to the prestigious homicide command by former Deputy Commissioner Melvin C. McQuay. He also currently oversees the robbery, sex crimes and child abuse units.

Replacing him will be Lt. Wendell M. France, a homicide shift commander who will be promoted to major, Mr. Ringgold said.

Other promotions to major are:

* Capt. Eugene T. Yeager, head of the drug and vice units, who will have 20 city officers added to his command as part of a federal drug task force.

* Lt. Walter Tuffey, who works in the commissioner's office and will be responsible for a plan announced by Mr. Frazier this week to shift 325 officers out of administrative jobs and back to street patrol.

* Lt. Frank Melcavage, who works in the human resources department and will move to research and development.

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