Police Reorganization Would Give Anderson More Power, Bypass Traditional Officers
The hierarchy of the Cambridge Police Department will likely be in for some serious shocks in the near future.
Newly appointed police commissioner Perry L. Anderson received permission from the state yesterday to bypass some civil service exam requirements when he appoints six superintendents and deputy superintendents to help him run the department.
Those six people will probably affect the course of the department as Anderson tries to move the service towards traditional neighborhood-based police and patrols.
"They will be his own crime prevention force," said Vice Mayor Kenneth E. Reeves '72. "He'll know the people he's working with."
Under the new plan, Anderson will be free to choose these top officials according to his own criteria, instead of taking the top scorers.
Anderson has indicated that he plans to appoint officers that will be more representative of the Cambridge community.
"These six new leaders will be representative of the makeup of the city, including women and minorities," Anderson said.
The commissioner's proposal, approved by a seven to two City Council vote, was based on organizational charts from police departments around the country, said Gloria A. Pimentel, public information officer for the police department.
Although the plan could significantly affect the careers of several officers, few police officers said they were opposed to the scheme.
"I feel civil service is a definite necessity, but the problem we have here is that the frozen people at the top are never responsive to changing needs of the community in general," Morrison said.
Continued Morrison, "I've taken two lieutenant exams and it appears that I'll be going down the tubes again in that I won't be promoted."
According to Morrison, "there are 18 of us on the promotion list and at least five would have been promoted. I was number six."
"The plan will focus on ability to lead and manage more than on rote learning that produces top people on exams," said Reeves. "Exams do not leave police managers and leaders."
Opposition to the Plan
Councillor Timothy J. Toomey, one of the two councillors to oppose the plan, said the plan gives Anderson too much power.
"It was an outrage ... It makes it more political; it makes it who you know--that's how you get promoted.
Said Toomey, "it was a slap in the face to the seargents who had been there for many years."
How It Would Work
But there are conflicting reports as to how exactly the plan would affect the promotion process.
Pimentel and Walsh said they believe that most, if not all, of the new deputy superintendents will probably come from within the department's ranks.
But some police officers have their own ideas as to who Anderson should appoint.
"I'd like him to appoint all African-Americans but it won't happen, said G.E. Morrison, Jr., chair of the Cambridge African-American Police Association.
Those six deputies will be Anderson's most trusted staff as he tries to integrate the department into the community and move it towards traditional neighborhood-based patrols