The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) launched a new patrol strategy on Jan. 3. The program is structured to increase management accountability of officers working within the area’s seven districts.

The sector patrol strategy divides each patrol district into three sectors. Each sector is led by an assigned captain, who reports directly to the district commander. The 21 sector captain are responsible for their designated areas “24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” a spokesperson for the police said.

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“This year MPD is strengthening the district’s police force by putting in place a policing strategy that will create greater accountability across the entire department,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) said at a news conference on Jan. 11. “I’m proud that MPD is continuously looking for ways to improve service delivery and response to D.C. residents.”

Bowser said the new way of policing will reduce dispatch and response times and improve the assessment of police performance and mentorship.

The new organizational structure will not eliminate Police Service Areas (PSA). Patrol lieutenants will continue to be stationed within each PSA, in part, because community relationships have already been developed, Interim Chief Peter Newsham said at the news conference.

“The benefits of this change are our middle managers, our patrol lieutenants, will have better existing contact with the officers on a particular shift,” Newsham said. “Middle managers will also be able to have a better grasp on shift specific crimes and police concerns in their communities.”

Newsham said the sector captains will act as the point people for lieutenants. “We want to evaluate those captains and their ability to provide police services to a larger geographical area,” he said. “As you know in the District of Columbia every single neighborhood is different, the concerns in every single area is different, so it’s good to have the captains to be able to get that experience and to respond to those concerns.”

The department is also looking to hire more officers to expand the sector model as older officials retire. “We have an aging police force,”Newsham said, referencing that the sector strategy will highlight the service of younger officers and help the department choose who should take on command roles in the future.

The local police force has around 3,700 officers with a goal to hire 360 more in 2017.