Det. Sgt. James H. King, 44, the highly praised head of the D.C. police department's crack bank robbery squad, is retiring from the force at the end of the month to take charge of security here for the B'nai B'rith.

King, a member of the force since 1957, has headed the bank squad since December 1969, and according to police chief Maurice J. Cullinane, compiled one of the best records of any detective unit in the city or of andy bank robbery detail in the nation.

Each year since King became head of the squad arrests were made in at least 93 per cent of the robberies of financial institutions here.

Sgt. King "is one of the nation's foremost criminal investigators," Cullinane said.

A spokesman for B'nai B'rith, the Jewish service organization, described the hiring of King as part of a process of increasing security to diminish the likehood of another incident similar to that takeover of the organization's headquarters here by Hanafi Muslims earlier this year.

King's work as head of the robbery unit brought him in close contact with FBI and other federal law inforcement agencies. He also was involved in advising banks and their employees on security measures.