I have lived in Mount Pleasant since 1978, and I have been very much aware of the work of D.C. Police Officer Bonnie O'Neal over the years {Metro, Aug. 12}. She seemed to be everywhere. She would be on the street, she would answer calls on my block, she would play an active role in community meetings. I have seen her at work solving problems in the neighborhood, often using her unusually well-developed ability to communicate with all sectors of the population.

There is not another member of the police department who has had anything close to her beneficial effect on the quality of life in Mount Pleasant. And yet the skills and abilities she applies to her work are things that could be learned by anyone. Perhaps this has been recognized by the D.C. police department in its plans to expand deployment of ''community-oriented'' officers. I certainly hope that this is the direction being taken.

The ''Bonnie O'Neal'' approach to police work should be heavily emphasized in police training. Perhaps, since she is retiring, the department might hire her as a consultant. I believe the entire Washington community would benefit greatly if Officer O'Neal were able to influence the training of new police officers.

Police should be more community oriented, more willing to get involved and talk with people and more a part of daily life in the neighborhoods. That is what Bonnie O'Neal did in Mount Pleasant, and it really made a difference.