Rice Turner, a veteran Prince George's County police official who was recently passed over in a long search for a new chief, will be promoted to the department's No. 2 job, informed sources said yesterday.

The 41-year-old police major will be bumped over two more senior officers on the force to become deputy chief when John E. McHale Jr. becomes acting chief Dec. 28, the sources said.

County Executive Lawrence J. Hogan last week picked McHale, one of his senior aids, to run the force temporarily following the County Council's rejection of Hogan's first choice for the job, Police Chief James R. Taylor of Petersburg, Va.

Turner an 18-year veteran of the Prince George's force, was the only department insider among four finalists in the running for the top post before Hogan selected Taylor.

Observers suggested McHale, a retired FBI agent without any experience on a local police force, would need a deputy familiar with the department.

Hogan is continuing his search for a permanent chief to replace John Rhoads, who retired last June. After Taylor was rejected by the County Council last week, an angry Hogan charged that the police department was "stultified" and needed a "breath of freash air."

Turner, a resident of Bowie, joined the police force in 1961, spent five years as a sergeant, was appointed head of the department's internal affairs unit, which investigates complaints against police officers.

He has a reputation as a strict disciplinarian and a record of being tough on officers accused of police brutality.

After his promotion to major, he commanded the Hyattsville police substation before being brought into hedquarters as an administrator.