The District has more police officers per capita than any of the nation's 22 other largest cities, according to a comparison released yesterday that prompted Mayor Marion Barry to repeat his belief that the city does not need to hire more officers.

According to the report, the District's authorized force of 3,880 officers ranks first with 620 police officers per 100,000 residents. The District's population stands at roughly 626,000. Its ranking does not include the other, mostly federal, law enforcement agencies operating within the District.

Detroit, whose population is nearly 1.1 million, was ranked second with 461 officers per 100,000, followed by Philadelphia, Chicago, New York and Baltimore. San Jose was ranked last with 139 officers per 100,000.

Police union officials and some D.C. Council members have called for additional officers to combat a drug epidemic that has contributed to the city's soaring homicide rate. But Barry, speaking at his monthly news conference, said the figures are proof that the District has plenty of police officers. "These are not my numbers," Barry said. "They come from the FBI. I assume in this case . . . the bureau is correct and we don't need any more police officers. We need to deploy them differently. We need to get more and more of them on the streets where crime is occurring."

But Gary Hankins, chairman of the Fraternal Order of Police labor committee, said that the District is unique because of the presence of the federal government and that it cannot be compared fairly with other cities. Besides trying to maintain order, municipal police here, among other duties, are called upon to help protect the president and visiting dignitaries and control crowds during demonstrations. The District's comparatively high rate of police officers per capita "doesn't mean anything because you're comparing apples and oranges. Detroit, Los Angeles -- they don't have to protect the president of the United States, or the vice president, as he and international visitors move throughout the community," Hankins said.

The study was compiled from federal data by the D.C. Office of Criminal Justice Plans and Analysis, which compared 23 cities with populations exceeding 500,000 based on their October 1986 figures. The study is based solely on the size of the District's municipal police force. It does not include the roughly 1,250 officers of the Capitol Police who patrol the U.S. Capitol; the 255 members of the Metro Security Force who patrol the subways and subway stops; the 985-member uniformed division of the Secret Service, which moves around the city as warranted by the needs of the federal government; and the 320 patrol officers of the U.S. Park Police, who are responsible for the monuments in the District and portions of major highways in the area. Besides deterring crime in their areas of operation, these agencies provide backup and other assistance to District police.

The police union has called for 500 more officers to combat increasing drug-related violence, most of which is concentrated in the Southeast and Northeast quadrants. Council member Wilhelmina J. Rolark (D-Ward 8), head of the committee that oversees the police, also has pushed for more police.

Last week, Barry reassigned 40 to 50 officers from the Special Operations Division to the 7th Police District in Southeast, which has seen a disproportionate amount of the recent violence and is home to many open-air drug markets.

Hankins described such redeployments as "robbing from Peter . . . to pay Paul . . . while it ignores the fact that the demands on the department have nearly doubled {in the last decade} while our manpower has shrunk." By next year, the number of emergency calls to police is expected to nearly double what it was in 1979, when the size of the police force was roughly 4,100, Hankins said.

"That redeployment is going to be fought by the ones that already have the officers," Rolark said. "There's no point in dividing the city over it. Let's get more" officers. Asked why drugs and violence are so rampant in a city that the mayor says has an adequate number of police, Rolark said, "Certainly something is amiss here, something is askew here if you look at the type of escalation of violent crime."

Staff writer Tom Sherwood contributed to this report.

*With 3,880 officers in the police department, the District tops list of 23 largest U.S. cities in number of officers per 100,000 residents. Also serving the District are these agencies (approximate number of officers in parentheses) with arrest powers: Capitol Police (1,250); Metro Security (225); Uniform Division of the Secret Service (985); U.S. Park Police (320).

SOURCE: FBI, Crime in the United States, 1986.