The Secret Service has taken greater operational control over the Executive Protective Service in the wake of a survey that found 80 per cent of the EPS force were discontented with their chief's policies, officials said.
John Simpson, a veteran Secret Service agent has been made deputy assistant director of the Secret Service with specific responsibility for the EPS. The 916-member EPS was set up in 1970 as a uniformed forced under the Secret Service to guard the White House and foreign diplomatic missions.
Under the new command structure, Earl L. Drescher, EPS chief since 1973, would report to Simpson rather than directly to Thomas J. Kelley, the Secret Service's assistant director for protective operations.
Drescher, who said he has a gout problem, has been on extended sick leave since shortly after the new command structure was put into effect in March. He declined to comment yesterday on the new arrangement or on the survey taken last year by the Secret Service.
According to officials, the survey indicated discontent with Drescher's policies in such areas as scheduling and assigments. Officers also reportedly complained of a lack of communication with Drescher.
In brief comments yesterday, Drescher asserted that he did the lest he could and expressed the belief that his record speaks for itself.
Drescher, who joined the EPS as a captain in 1970 after 14 years with the Washington police, was described by associates as a fine policeman who is less adept as an administrator.
In one notable incident. Drescher personally confronted a man claiming to be armed with explosives who crashed his car through a White House gate on Christmas Day, 1974. The man surrendered peacefully after a dramatic three-hour confrontation.
Secret service officials also have been concerned about rapid turnover of personnel in the EPS, although spokesmen said this problem began with the inception of the force, and appeared to have stabilized in recent months.
Officials said the turnover last year among EPS officers, whose average salary is about $15,000 a year, was about 18 to 20 per cent, compared with about 5 per cent for the metropolitan police.
However officials noted that at least some of the turnover is attributable to the fact that many EPS officers have obtained or are working for coliege degrees, which qualify them for higher paying and more altractivejobs in law encorcement security work.