John E. Winters, 76, who retired in 1966 as a deputy chief of the Metropolitan Police Department after more than 35 years on the force, died Jan. 30 of congestive heart failure at his home in Beltsville.

Chief Winters headed the department's Youth Aid Division from the time it was established in 1954 until his retirement, and in that capacity he directed the police handling of all juvenile crime in Washington. Before that he was a captain in command of the old second precinct, which encompassed the inner-city area of Northwest Washington and had one of the heaviest crime rates in the city at that time.

Upon his retirement, Chief Winters became a full-time community relations consultant to the Prince George's County police department, and he served there for five years before retiring a second time.

Chief Winters was born and reared in Washington and attended McKinley Technical High School. Before joining the police department in 1931 he worked at a service station and played saxophone with several small bands. As a member of the department he continued to play saxophone in the police band.

Survivors include his wife, Virginia, of Beltsville; two daughters, Diane J. Winters of Cedar City, Utah, and Constance McGlynn of Beltsville; a brother, Harry C. Winters of Deerfield Beach, Fla.; 12 grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.