After a month, Prince George's Police Chief John W. Rhoads has finally decided that the answer to the challenged question on the captain's promotional exam is Letter C.

That's the letter police Lts. Milton Krump and Richard Beavers marked in response to the question, "What is the deficiency to be found in the routine command system during emergency conditions?"

The choices were:

(A) There is no emergency oriented command in hierarchy;

(B) There is no practice or training in command under emergency conditions;

(C) The routine command system has too long a chain of command for emergency situations; or

(D) All of the above.

Beavers and Krump, among 26 lieutenants who took the test in October, were originally graded correct, and were ranked 1-2 among the test takers. Then Lt. William Roberts, who had answered "D" challenged the answer -- a common paractice.

A board of three captains met and recommended to personnel director Lt. Col. Vincent duCellier and Rhoads that they rule "D" correct even though the police textbood said "C."

Beavers and Krump, knowing that promotion means a 10-percent raise in salary, filed a counter-challenge and reportedly implied that duCellier had engineered the change in the answer so that Roberts, fourth on the test list, could pass them. DuCellier is Roberts' supervisor.

Roberts angrily denied that charge, saying "there's an awful lot of sour grapes out there. I think there are people out there just out to make personal attacks on me."

Rhoads has now decided that the answer is "C." So Krump and Beavers move back up the list and Roberts moves down.

"How many will get promoted to captain?" Rhoads was asked. "i don't know. Maybe no one will."