The Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) is likely to reorganize its personnel this fall, and some police sources said the move comes in part because of a major protection operation for a Saudi Arabian prince.
In an interview last week, HUPD Chief Paul E. Johnson confirmed that he was considering restructuring the department to improve its effectiveness, but declined to give details of the plan.
"We are looking at, in the near future, the possibility of reorganizing the department to some degree," Johnson said. He said he hoped the changes would "make the delivery of services more efficient."
Speaking on condition of anonymity, two law enforcement sources said the plan under discussion involves assigning separate personnel to the dignitary protection and criminal investigation units of HUPD.
As a part of the reorganization, Lt. Lawrence J. Murphy's job description will change markedly, the sources said. He now heads up both the dignitary protection and criminal investigation units of HUPD.
According to the officials, Murphy, who has been trained by the United States Secret Service, will either head a revamped VIP protection operation or leave the department entirely.
In a telephone interview Sunday, Murphy refused to comment on the reports that he would be reassigned under the new arrangement.
"Nothing has been finalized within the department in regards to the reorganization," Murphy said. "We'll just have to wait until the chief makes an announcement."
The police sources linked the expected changes at HUPD to recent difficulties involving the department's protection of a visiting Saudi Arabian prince.
The Crimson reported yesterday that Harvard police have provided a security detail for Prince Turki bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud at his expense since July. Police sources have said that the protection detail has slowed investigative work at HUPD.
But Daniel Steiner '54, Harvard's vice president and general counsel, said in an interview yesterday that the operation was not draining law enforcement resources.
"We have made a point of trying to make certain that there is no interruption of any significance of the normal work of the police department," said Steiner, who oversees HUPD. "I have kept in touch with the unit in the past weeks."
The reorganization was reportedly under consideration before the Prince arrived, but the sources said problems with his visit cemented support for changes in the department's structure.