POLICE CHIEFS: Whatever happened to the four men who ran the District Police Department from 1964 to 1980? John B. Layton retired in 1969 after 33 years on the force to become special assistant to the U.S. Chief of Protocol (then Emil Mosbacher Jr.) in the Nixon administration, responsible for protecting Washington's foreign embassies. Layton retired from the police department because of physical disability incurred in the line of duty during the 1969 riots. These days, he lives in Northwest Washington and says he spends time flying his private plane and giving flying lessons.

Jerry V. Wilson, now 53, left the department "happy and voluntarily" in 1974. He subsequently spent five years working on projects at American University and is now vice president for security in charge of the 535 Peoples Drugs stores. Wilson says he is no longer close to the police department. Does he miss it? "Not really," he says, chuckling. "There is life after death. . . . If I still wanted to run the department, I could have; . . . nobody made me leave."

Maurice J. Cullinane, now 49, is executive secretary of the D.C. Bankers Association. Like Layton, he retired on medical disability in 1978 after 22 years on the force. He started with the bankers' group as a security consultant and soon moved up. He also heads the District's Crime Solvers Program, which offers reward money for tips (without revealing the informant's identity) leading to the capture of criminals.

Burtell M. Jefferson, 56, was one of a handful of black D.C. police officers in the late 1940s and slowly worked his way up the ladder, becoming chief in 1978. Jefferson, the first black to become D.C. police chief, retired last July after 33 years on the force. Since then, he has been living on his pension.

When asked if he would still like to be involved in police matters, Wilson said: "I left and have not been back. You're like a fifth wheel on a car when you go back. So I've avoided it."

RATS: Washington has often been referred to as the center of the great rat race. Not so, says James Murphy, who heads the District's ongoing "War on Rats" program. Rats are under control, he says. The problem is mice.

After more than a decade of fighting the War on Rats, the entire city's infestation rate has dropped from one in every four houses (25 percent) in 1968 to one in every 25 today (4 percent), Murphy says.

"The problem with mice is that there is no federal grant to deal with them," Murphy explained. "Mice are an interior indoor problem, whereas rats are an exterior outdoor one, so the federal government doesn't deal with them.

"I would estimate that mice infestation is as high as 15 to 20 percent. They are much more difficult to control, because they are resistant to most 'safe' rat bait," he said. "You would have to use something stronger than an anticoagulant to wipe them out and you risk potential damage to children and pets. The best technique is to trap them."

The District's Vector Control unit gives free consultation on how to deal with mice. Call 576-7389.