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Officer Tied to Overtime Probe Gets New Job

January 16, 1986|SAM ENRIQUEZ | Times Staff Writer

The former commander of the Los Angeles Police Department's Anti-Terrorist Division, who reportedly is under departmental investigation on suspicion of claiming overtime pay while moonlighting as a college instructor, was named this week to head the city's Northeast Division.

Capt. Robert M. Smitson, 49, will replace Capt. Robert Taylor as commander of the police division that includes the Northeast communities of Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Los Feliz and Silver Lake. Smitson, a 28-year police veteran, had previously been the commander of the Northeast Division until 1982, when he was appointed to take command of the Hollywood Division.

Taylor, who has been in charge of the Northeast Division for 18 months, will head the city's Hollywood Division.

Took Medical Leave

Smitson took command of the Anti-Terrorist Division one year ago, but went on medical leave Nov. 20 after complaining of chest pains and numbness in his left arm. He was replaced last week as commander of that division by Capt. Walter W. Mitchell, commander of the Devonshire Division.

Police Capt. Clayton Mayes will be acting commander of the Northeast Division until Smitson returns from medical leave Feb. 1, Taylor said.

An investigation is reportedly being made into whether Smitson claimed in 1984 that he was working overtime while he was teaching classes at Rio Hondo College in Whittier. At that time, Smitson was helping direct the department's command post in Exposition Park during the Olympic Games.

Smitson was unavailable Wednesday for comment on the investigation.

Taylor called his successor "a man of great integrity and proven performance."

Heads Hollywood Division

Taylor, 43, a 22-year police veteran, was selected to take over the Hollywood Division from Capt. Larry Fetters, who is expected to be promoted to a higher administrative position.

"It's a larger command and a compliment," said Taylor of his transfer. "While I am real happy to go, there is a certain amount of sorrow in leaving community groups and individuals that I've worked with here."

Taylor has kept a high profile among community and homeowners groups that he said has enhanced the relationship between the police and citizens in Northeast Los Angeles. "It has made us more effective," he said.

Crime Rate Lower

The greatest achievement during his tenure as commander has been the reduction of major crimes by 7% during 1985, one of the largest crime reductions among the city's 18 divisions, Taylor said.

Taylor has been head of the Police Department's Juvenile Division and has served in a variety of administrative positions since 1978.

Taylor said that, in his new position, he will try to reduce auto thefts and burglaries from parked cars, as well as prostitution and narcotics trafficking in Hollywood.

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