District Police Chief Maurice Cullinane announced 18 promotions in the city police department yesterday, including appointment as assistant chief of Robert L. Rabe, the so-called "golden voice" of the force who conducted negotiations that ended a series of sieges last March by Hanafi Muslims.

The promotions will effect virtually every branch of the force with four of the promotions involving the top, echelon. The captains of the robbery, narcotics and internal affairs squads will get higher ranks along with Rabe.

Rabe will become one of four assistance chiefs, replacing Theodore Robert Zanders, a 26-year veteran of the police department who is retiring. Rabe was one of 13 deputy chiefs in the department and headed the Special Operations Division, which handles hostage, terroist and large crowd situations.

Capt. John C. Connor, of the robbery squad, was promoted to inspector. Under Connor, the robbery squad has seen about a 50 per cent decrease in the number of armed robberies last year over figures of the previous year.

Connor will become head of the department's disciplinary review board, which has been without a director since Insp. George L. Chapoutot left the post to become the head of the Second District earlier this year.

Yesterday's series of promotions were triggered by the retirement of Assistant Chief Zanders on Aug. 1. A nationally known expert in police spectional services for the department, including internal affairs, field inspections, morals, division and investigative services.

Zanders developed the city's first plan for handling hostage situations. His plan was used to break the Hanafi takeovers.

Zanders also was responsible for a management study of the police department's intelligence division that resulted in the unit's decision to concentrate on fencing operations. That decision led to the now famous "Sting" and "High Rollers" police fencing operations.

Zanders, a graduate of American University with a bachelor's degree in the administration of justice, is an expert in crowd control. During 1971, he directed policemen at a long deries of Washington demonstrations in a city where there were 371 more demonstrations than in all other U.S. cities combined.

He also created the District's first bomb disposal unit, first canine bomb and explosive team, first canine narcotics detection team and the department's first helicopter branch.

Rabe, 50, who was appointed to the department in 1951, became captain of the department's Youth Division in 1968. He is a graduate of American University, with a bachelor's degree inn the administration of justice.

In 1971, he became one of the city's seven district commanders, heading the force in the 7th district. In 1972, he was promoted to deputy chief in charge of planning and development. While in the post, he helped develop department policies on internal and domestic terrorism. In 1973 he was reassigned to head the Special Operations Division.

Replacing Rabe as head of Special Operations will be Robert W. Klotz, a deputy chief who is now head of personnel and training.

Melvin A. Winkleman, former captain of the internal affairs division, was promoted to inspector and will replace Klotz as head of personnel and training.

Houston M. Bigelow, captain of narcotics, was promoted to inspector. He will become the department's night supervisor.

Bigelow will replace Allan D. Wolf, the current night supervisor, who has been reassigned to head the identification and records division. The current head of that division, Thomas J. Wolfrey, is on sick leave.

Other promotions in the department included Lt. Kenneth V. Moreland of the Check and Fraud unit to captain; Lt. Phillip A. O'Donnel of the 1st District to captain; Lt. James F. Coffey of the 2d District to captain; Lt. Charles E. Samarra of internal affairs to captain; Lt. James T. Shugart, administrative assistant to the chief of police to captain; Sgt. Nelson J. Grillo of the 7th District to lieutenant, and six officers to sergeant.