A D.C. police captain who has been charged with assault with intent to kill a woman police officer has been placed on sick leave with pay, officials reported yesterday. The usual procedure in criminal cases is suspension without pay.

The action in the case of Charles R. Bacon, a 13-year police veteran who allegedly fired at the female officer last month, has been criticized by police union leaders who say Bacon is being given special treatment.

These union spokesmen said that the usual action in the case of an officer charged with a crime is suspension without pay pending adjudication of the charge.

Officials said that Bacon was placed on sick leave after he entered an alcohol treatment center in Maryland. His doctor certified in a letter to the police department that Bacon was suffering from acute depression and alcoholism.

According to persons familiar with the case, Assistant Police Chief Marty Tapscott recommended to Chief Burtell M. Jefferson that Bacon be suspended without pay. However, the chief decided sick leave should be invoked. Tapscott refused to comment on the case. Jefferson could not be reached.

"It gives the appearance that there is some favortism involved," said Larry Melton, vice president of International Brotherhood of Police Officers Local 442. "The union objects to any special treatment by virtue of rank or friendship."

"I have never had a client placed in a sick-leave capacity," said union attorney James Pressler, who has represented many police officers in disciplinary and criminal matters. "They are suspended without pay. This certainly is inconsistent with the established practice."

However, Sgt. Arnold Wiley of the department's personnel department said there have been other instances in which officers charged with crimes have been placed on sick leave. He noted, for example, that a D.C. police lieutenant who was charged with assaulting a Prince George's County police officer two years ago was placed on sick leave pending trial. The D.C. lieutenant subsequently was cleared of the charges.

Bacon, who was serving as deputy director of the police department's personnel division, is accused of firing four shots at police detective Esther Dimery during an incident on March 14 in Prince George's County.