Several Alexandrians have launched a drive to raise $35,000 to help pay the legal expenses of city police chief Charles T. Strobel, charged last month with perjury and obstruction of justice.

"This is our thanks . . . for a long term of public service" by Strobel, said C.C. Brock, a past president of the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the drive.

Brock said the group believes it can easily raise "in excess of" $35,000 before Strobel's trial, which is set for April 15 in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. "Charlie Strobel goes to the grocery store and he has people standing in line to wish him well," Brock said.

The chief has been on administrative leave with pay from his $70,000-plus job since his indictment Feb. 20. He could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The 12-count indictment charges that Strobel lied to a federal grand jury last fall when questioned about how he handled allegations of sexual misconduct by policemen, allegations that were brought to him during the 1970s.

Brock said the organizing committee for the "Strobel Legal Aid Fund" includes him, Alexandria lawyer John C. Morrison, and Catherine Boltwood, who is the fund's secretary-treasurer. The group has registered with the state and city offices of consumer affairs, Morrison said.

"Charlie is not a wealthy man," said a statement released yesterday by Brock. "We don't want to see him placed in a position of losing his home or facing personal bankruptcy in order to pay for his defense. We think a lot of other people will feel the same way and will want to help."