"It would make the chief spend almost all his time on internal operations," Brewer said. "It would have been a major problem in the riots. The captains would have been going to him directly for all kinds of decisions and, if he wasn't present, what kind of access would there have been to him?"
In the riots' early hours, Gates spent 20 minutes delivering a speech at a Brentwood fund-raiser.
Gates said that his proposed restructuring would have made no difference in the police response to the riots. "Whether we had a new organization or the old organization, there is no excuse for the kinds of glitches that occurred," Gates said.
Gates said that seven police captains who participated this year in a pilot project that placed them directly under his command "are enthralled" by his plan to streamline the line of authority between them and the chief's office.
"They say: 'We've died and gone to heaven, Chief,' " Gates said.
But several other high-ranking police officials who were contacted Saturday expressed alarm about Gates' proposal.
"Everybody I know thinks it's a joke," said one captain, who declined to be identified. "It's paying back top officers for their lack of support for the chief. It's petty political vindictiveness."