In the face of increasing crime and a decreasing budget, D.C. Police planners are undertaking a major reorganizational effort to remove scores of officers from desk jobs and put them on the street.
Insp. Issac Fulwood, financial management chief for the police department, said yesterday that planners are hoping to keep 69-70 percent of the 3,670-member force on the street "fighting crime or investigating crime."
To do this, he said, for example, the department's field inspections staff which conducts checks and audits of internal police procedures has been cut from 25 to eight officers, with the remaining 17 officers reassigned to street duty.
About 290 other clerical jobs now held by uniformed officers will be turned over to civilian employes, Fulwood said.Twenty-four of those jobs already have been converted, he said.
Also, he said, the 23-member helicopter branch has been cut by more than half with 12 of its officers transferred to street duty.
The personnel relignment results not only from budget cuts but also from a recent rash of retirements by officers lured by liberal retirement benefits. As a result, for example, the number of mid-level officials has dropped lieutenants are down from 167 to 150 throughout the department and sergeants are down from 564 to 467. Many will not be replaced.
By the same token, the number of detectives will be allowed to fall from 474 to 393 in the next year, Fulwood said.
Police planners also are letting the size of the department fall because of an anticipated $6 million reduction in the department's operating budget for the next fiscal year, which begins Wednesday.
The department now wants more officers on the street because of the city's increasing crime rate. Serious reported crime jumped 10.8 percent in 1979 over 1978, the biggest annual increase in a decade. It has continued a steep climb so far this year and leaped 34 percent in August over the same month a year ago. Reported robberies in August increased 64 percent, burglaries 53 percent and murders 100 percent.