Trevor A. Hampton, officially named police chief in Alexandria yesterday, said he hopes his leadership of the troubled department will "get everyone moving in the proper direction."

Hampton, formerly the deputy police chief in Columbia, S.C., told a news conference that he hopes to provide "an effective and fair administration" of the Police Department, which for four years has been hobbled by allegations of wrongdoing, mismanagement and cronyism. "We're going to build a relationship that is positive," Hampton said.

"I feel very good about the quality of people in the department," he said. "{But} the environment within the organization must be positive. Leadership must be provided."

Hampton, 41, was hired Tuesday and will report to work March 1. He will make $65,474 a year.

He laid out few specifics yesterday regarding his plans for the department, saying his first priority was meeting police officers and city officials. But several officers who have met Hampton say they believe he is the right man for the job.

"I'm happy," said Detective Barry Shiftik, president of the Alexandria Police Association. "I think he's going to be just what we need.

"I've made a lot of phone calls {to cities where Hampton has worked} and you just don't hear anything bad about him. We've been beat into the ground for so long, we want something positive to happen. This is a step in the right direction."

Since 1984, the Alexandria Police Department has been enmeshed in controversy, much of it involving former chief Charles T. Strobel. Strobel was investigated by two grand juries and exonerated of any criminal wrongdoing, but retired under pressure in September after an internal investigation found "significant failure of top management" in the department.

Hampton declined to discuss the department's problems yesterday. He also played down the fact that he will be the city's first black police chief and the only black in a senior department job.

"I don't have any reaction or observation {about that}," Hampton said. "The observations have to be made by others."

Hampton's wife Kimberly appeared with him and told reporters afterward that she planned to get involved in local efforts to improve public housing and prevent teen-age pregnancy. She works as a public housing administrator, managing a 400-unit project for Columbia.