The Greenbelt City Council has awarded a contract for the evaluation of the operation and management of the city's 32-member police department, the first external study of the force undertaken in 15 years.

The $20,833 study will include an examination of administrative procedures, field operations, crime prevention programs and management and organizational practices.

City officials said said that while Greenbelt's population has dropped from 19,000 to 14,000 since 1970, the police department's area of responsiblity has increased because of the commercial development in the city.

Police Chief Frank Hudson said such evaulations are "not uncommon" and that the intention "is just to see what improvements can be made."

The council accepted a bid from Public Administration Service, a firm that has evaluated 81 jurisdictions since 1972, city clerk Gudrun Mills said.

"The demand on the police department is greater now than it used to be," Mills said. "Everyone wants the most efficient department possible."

Former police chief William Lane, who retired in July, requested the evaluation about a year ago, Mills said. In its 1984 budget tThe council allocated $25,000 to hire a consulting firm and another $25,000 to implement any changes suggested by the firm.

Mills said no date has been set for the start of the evaluation, which is expected to take about six months.