D.C. Police Chief Maurice T. Turner Jr., who had sharply criticized black Muslim antidrug patrols at Mayfair Mansions, said yesterday that police will work with the Nation of Islam to rid the Northeast apartment complex of narcotics dealers.

Turner, who met with the Nation of Islam's local leader, Abdul Alim Muhammad, would not elaborate on their plans except to say that the two-hour meeting was productive and that details of their joint efforts will be announced at a news conference today.

After the meeting with Turner, Muhammad, flanked by two Muslim aides, moved on to the District Building, where he was warmly embraced by several D.C. Council members who applauded his group's actions.

Council member H.R. Crawford (D-Ward 7) interrupted a council hearing on city drug abuse programs to heap praise on the Muslim leader. "I can't shower you with sufficient accolades," Crawford told Muhammad. "You have succeeded where others have failed."

"For the first time in these years, children were able to play," said Crawford, whose district includes Mayfair Mansions. "For the first time in years, senior citizens were walking their dogs."

At Mayfair Mansions yesterday, a long central courtyard that normally teems with crack cocaine dealers remained free of drug activity, even as the number of police officers monitoring the Muslim patrols diminished during the day. As night fell, police mounted a 40-officer sweep at Paradise Manor, a neighboring apartment complex that also has been plagued by drug sales.

The Muslim patrols began Monday after frustrated residents accepted the Nation of Islam's offer to patrol the complex's many vacant apartments and open areas where drug sales have been conducted virtually without control.

The effort is similar to other Muslim patrols that have curtailed drug activity in New York's Bedford-Stuyvesant area.

The Mayfair Mansions patrols immediately became embroiled in controversy when approximately 10 Muslims severely beat a man who was wielding a shotgun, and then injured a WRC-TV (channel 4) reporter in an attempt to take away his videotape of the beating incident. The beating of the gunman was broadcast on television.

Yesterday, D.C. Council members played down the significance of Monday's violence.

Crawford, who said a formal ceremony honoring the Muslim group will be held later this month at Mayfair Mansions, called the confrontation "an isolated incident that will never happen again."

"I support you 100 percent," said council member Harry Thomas (D-Ward 5), who invited Muhammad to stage patrols in his ward. Thomas added, "I'm sorry about the incident that happened. That happens."

Only Council Chairman David A. Clarke sounded a cautionary note. Invoking the Koran, he encouraged the Muslims to remain nonviolent and maintain their discipline.

Muhammad told the council that his group had "virtually eliminated" the open-air drug markets that had taken over the Mayfair Mansions complex.

"While this approach will not solve the entire drug problem," it should "serve as a role model for what active and energized citizens can do" to combat drug trafficking around the city, Muhammad said.

The expressions of support from the police department and council members came after two days of tense exchanges, in which Muhammad criticized police for a lack of support, and police officials accused the Muslims of taking the law into their own hands and increasing the potential for violence.

Although police declined to detail how they will cooperate with the antidrug patrols, sources said 6th District officers will meet with the Muslims to work out plans.

They said the police are still worried about the potentially dangerous situation at Mayfair Mansions between the Muslim patrols and drug dealers.

Muhammad moved yesterday to reduce ill will over Monday's attack on the television news crew, and the subsequent oral clash with police. He apologized on WOL radio yesterday morning to Harry Davis, the WRC cameraman who was attacked while taping the incident, for the group's action. This "lays to rest a diversionary issue," said Muhammad. "The real issue is drugs."

Speaking to the D.C. Council, he called Monday's violence an unfortunate incident. "We are not haters . . . we do not want to destroy the life of any people."

Muhammad also said, "We are not trying to replace the police or do their job. We are not trying to show anyone in a bad light."

Residents at Mayfair Mansions -- a sprawling 569-unit complex bordered by Kenilworth Avenue and Hayes and Jay streets NE -- continued to praise the Muslim patrols yesterday.

"Life's been hell," said Annette Bowie. "If I heard a shot and I knew {my son} was out there, I would be like a crazy person."

She and other residents told of keeping their children indoors after 3 p.m. each day, when drug dealers would invade playgrounds and parking lots to make sales.

Muhammad said that his group has "received requests from Paradise Manor," the drug-infested complex adjacent to Mayfair Mansions, to patrol that community. "We will meet with them and see what we can design," he said. "It is better not to try to do too much too fast."

Several Mayfair Mansions residents criticized the lack of police officers on a regular basis at the complex, which houses 1,000 to 1,300 residents. With 235 officers, the 6th Police District, which is responsible for patrolling the Mayfair Mansions neighborhood, has the fewest officers of the city's seven police precincts.

"The district is the smallest in terms of resources," said Assistant Chief Isaac M. Fulwood Jr. "The allocation of resources is based on a work load factor. We're reviewing that particular formula to see if adjustments need to be made. If that needs to be done, then that's what we will do."

Staff writer James Rupert contributed to this report.

------------------------AND MAJOR CRIMES, 1987---------------------

Police ..Authorized ..Actual .....Assigned ..Aggravated ..Homicides

District .Strength* .Strength ....To Vice ...Assaults

1st.............458.......460 .........18...........804..........27

2nd.............411.......416 ..........9...........329...........7

3rd.............435.......440 .........29...........784..........33

4th.............352.......357 .........13...........568..........28

5th.............364.......362 .........35...........837..........34

6th.............233.......235 .........11...........661..........28

7th.............347.......354 .........16.........1,101..........68

* As of Sept. 30, 1987.

SOURCE: Metropolitan Police Department.