Richard A. Gabriel, the former Quantico police sergeant who has been trying to regain that job, has withdrawn his application for the post after a lengthy battle with the Quantico Town Council.

Gabriel, who was dismissed in August 1980 after being arrested on a sex solicitation charge, asked the council to reappoint him last year after a grand jury cleared him of the charge. Although no one else applied for the job until last month, the council refused to rehire Gabriel. The $12,750-a-year sergeant's job, which involves heading Quantico's police force, has been vacant for most of the time since Gabriel was fired.

In late December, Gabriel's attorney, Ervan Kuhnke, sent a letter to the council withdrawing his application. "He just decided as a result of their intransigence that he could not work with them even if he got the job," Kuhnke said. "He just decided it wasn't worth it."

Gabriel will pursue his federal lawsuit against the council, charging that the council denied him due process when he was dismissed, Kuhnke said. The case is now on appeal before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond.

The council is scheduled to discuss the town sergeant's job at its meeting tonight. The only applicant now is Quantico police officer Leo Rodriguez, who joined the force last April. The council meets at 8 p.m. in the John Adams Municipal Building.