An Alexandria lawyer yesterday failed to persuade a local grand jury to indict the city's police chief and two top assistants for alleged misconduct during an investigation of Alexandria massage parlors last year.

Attorney Frederick (Rick) Ford, who represents several massage parlor owners, made an unusual personal appearance before the grand jury after chief prosecutor John E. Kloch refused last December to take Ford's complaints to the panel.

Ford yesterday described the grand jury's refusal to act as "frightening. The message is out that the police can commit crimes to investigate crimes." Police officials have previously defended their actions as legal and necessary to investigate alleged prostitution.

Police used a civilian volunteer, Michael Kevin Brennan, in their investigation, which resulted in several arrests for alleged violations of the city's ban on massages between men and women and several indictments on felony prostitution charges.

Charges in all but one of the cases were dismissed or dropped after Brennan testified he had solicited the massages and acts of prostitution.

Ford yesterday sought the indictment of Police Chief Charles T. Strobel, Deputy Chief Clyde Scott and Capt. Carl Dutzman, arguing they had violated city and state codes by ordering Brennan to purchase the services.