D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, making his first administrative shifts in the city's police department, announced yesterday major personnel changes within the highers ranks of the department.

At a press conference with Police Chief Burtell M. Jefferson, Barry said he has made nine new appointments, including the naming of three new assistant chiefs, the second highest post in the department.

Maurice T. Turner, 43, assistant chief of administrative services, was transferred to assistant chief for field operations, a key assignment regarded as the stepping stone to chief. Both Jefferson and his predecessor, Maurice J. Culliane, held the post before becoming police chief.

Four black officers, including Turner, and four white officers were promoted to higher ranks. Barry said yesterday that the promotions were "designed to put competent blacks in positions so they will have a greater chance of promotion in the future."

Forty seven percent of the department's 4,120 officers are black, and 32 percent of the officers above the rank of inspector are black-12 out of 36, according to police department statistics.

Barry commented yesterday that "for a long time the police department's upper echelons have not been looked at as being [racially] balanced."

Barry also announced creation of a new position of special assistant to the police chief, which will be filled by John S. Hughes, assistant chief for technical services, who will retire from the department Sept. 30.

Hughes will be replaced by Charles E. Rinaldi, 50, now 3rd District commander.

Shortly before Barry's press conference yesterday. Hughes and his attorney, David Wilmot, met with the mayor apparently to allay Hughes' concern that he would be asked to retire immediately. Hughes, 62, who has been with the department for 37 years, is eligible for increased pension benefits with a September retirement date.

Promotions announced yesterday included deputy chiefs Marty M. Tapscott, 42, who was named assistant chief for administrative services. Tapscott will be replaced by Insp. Albert W. Ferguson, 49.

Third district commander Rinaldi will be replaced by deputy chief William R. Dixon, who is now the 7th District commander, Insp. James K. Kelly, 47, will replace Dixon. Capt. Edward Krellis, 42, will replace Ferguson as commander of the field inspection division.

Insp. Roland W. Perry, 35, police finance officer, will become head of the department's youth division following the retirement of deputy chief Herbert R. Horwitz. Horwitz currently is on extended sick leave and is expected to retire by the end of the month.

Capt. Isaac Fulwood Jr. 39, Perry's assistant will take charge of the finance office and Capt. Fred Thomas, 35, will succeed Kelly as commander of the court Liaison Branch.

The promotions take effect May 11.