Some members of the city's Police Reserve Corps -- unarmed volunteers who wear uniforms and accompany officers on patrol -- will receive full police training and weapons in an effort to beef up police ranks, D.C. Police Chief Maurice T. Turner Jr. said yesterday.

Awaiting a three-week course -- including firearms training -- are 21 of the 175 volunteers in the group that was formed in 1950 to help officers with foot and car patrols and crowd control at special events such as parades and Redskins games. They include men and women who range in age from their late twenties to their fifties.

Turner also said that eventually, 1,000 volunteers will be added to the reserve corps to culminate a 15-point crime-fighting program that he and Mayor Marion Barry unveiled in the fall of 1985.

The announcement was the latest in a series of initiatives aimed at strengthening police presence during the city's current drug epidemic. During the first eight weeks of this year, 52 persons have been killed in the District, 38 of them in drug-related incidents, police said.

This month, Turner announced plans to eventually arm all 3,880 D.C. police officers with 9 mm semiautomatic weapons to give them parity with drug dealers. Police also revived Operation Clean Sweep, the city's controversial and expensive crackdown on street dealers.

Tuesday night, Turner said 101 officers would be shifted from desk jobs back onto the streets. Their administrative and support positions would be filled with civilians.

Turner said that today the 101 police officers will receive 30-day notices of reassignment, a requirement under the police union contract.

The idea of arming police volunteers and sending them out at a time when violence has reached unprecedented levels in the city drew immediate criticism.

"We can't even recruit 1,000 policemen, for God's sakes," said one high-ranking official.

"That's not true. We probably have a backlog of 800 to 1,000 applicants . . . {and} 300 to 500 pass the entrance exam every two months," Turner said, adding that more than 1,500 high school students have applied to be police cadets.

Gary Hankins, chairman of the Fraternal Order of Police's labor committee, called the most recent announcements "political rhetoric to give the appearance of more strength, while in fact no additional resources are being committed."

He said it is likely that five police academy training instructors would be reassigned under Turner's plan to shift 101 officers' duties. Hankins said that the department is contradicting itself by reducing its training staff as it trains more recruits and reserves.

Staff writer Rene Sanchez contributed to this report.