The D.C. police department didn’t hand out Christmas bonuses last year, but the highest ranks didn’t necessarily feel the pinch.

Sixty-three members of the department’s command staff took home more than $100,000 in 2007. That list includes several members demoted in the fall by new Chief Cathy Lanier when she decided to take a crack at trimming the bureaucratic fat.

Assistant chiefs Alton Bigelow, Willie Dandridge, and Brian Jordan were demoted to commanders in September but still earned $152,727, $165,482, and $173,757, respectively. Two commanders—Robin Hoey, who was demoted to captain in April after clashing with the chief, and Hilton Burton, who was reassigned and placed under investigation this fall for allegedly sending sexually inappropriate e-mails—took home $115,636 and $140,629, respectively.

Their salaries are unlikely to suffer and definitely won’t dip below $100,000, to the dismay of Fraternal Order of Police president Kristopher Baumann, who represents rank-and-file cops. Baumann says he’s tried to find out what the brass are doing in their current high-paying positions. He hasn’t gotten an answer from the chief’s office. “They’re just off the grid,” Baumann says.

A department spokesperson provided a list of the reassignments, which range from the patrol division to the office of special projects.

Baumann doesn’t place all the blame on Lanier, noting that she inherited an inflated command staff from former chief Charles H. Ramsey. He says the benefits of keeping the highest ranks fat and happy are obvious. “It diffuses a lot of the responsibility,” he says, “and it puts a lot of people out there who are loyal to you.”

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