A veteran Los Angeles Police Department officer with experience running the agency's criminal gang and homicide division has assumed command of the Harbor Division.
Capt. Nancy Lauer takes over a division with a recent spate of gang-related homicides that shocked Wilmington residents, and prompted marches for peace and demands for improved policing.
Lauer replaces Capt. William Hayes, who takes the reins of the department's elite Robbery-Homicide Division, which investigates high-profile cases in the city, including those involving celebrities.
Lauer could not be reached for comment.
Hayes said he would miss his job in the Harbor Area.
"I really enjoyed the community," Hayes said. "I got to enjoy the cops. It was really fun. I thought it was a nice fit."
Lauer's division recorded a decrease in overall crime in 2011 from 2010, but experienced a rash of gang-related shootings and homicides in Wilmington early this year.
Lauer grew up in Arlington, Va., and earned a bachelor's degree in administration justice at Pennsylvania State University.
She joined the LAPD in 1985, and worked patrol assignments at the Southeast, Central and Wilshire divisions.
After a promotion to sergeant, Lauer worked assignments at the Southwest, Communications, and Internal Affairs divisions, and earned a master's degree in public administration at California State University, Long Beach.
Lauer was promoted to lieutenant in 1997 and captain in 2002. In 2006, she took command of West Traffic Division.
In 2011, Captain Lauer was assigned to the Criminal Gang-Homicide Division, which handle violent crime in South Los Angeles.
A reception for the new captain is scheduled for 5-6 p.m. Thursday at The Grand Annex, 434 W. Sixth St., San Pedro, during First Thursday activities.