The debate over the Rivlin Commission's recommendations on police staffing and operations in the District continues today with an article by Officer Gary Hankins, head of the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents the officers, detectives and sergeants of the Metropolitan Police Department.

The Rivlin Commission findings and recommendations regarding the Metropolitan Police Department have been among its most controversial elements, particularly its proposal to cut 1,600 police officers. I oppose that proposition, but I agree with many of its other findings and conclusions.

The MPD is extremely top-heavy with unnecessary managers. When our force was reduced from 5,100 sworn members to about 3,600, our management ranks of lieutenant and above actually grew slightly. Our managers are not trained to manage. They are tested, promoted and assigned greater responsibility without any formal training. As a result we "need" more managers to do less.

Our new recruits do not receive adequate training. I testified before the D.C. Council and Congress that our academy staff lacked adequate training, supplies and support and that our curriculum had been gutted to ensure a steady flow of graduates to fill vacancies regardless of qualifications.

The General Accounting Office was ordered to audit our academy. The GAO found that the charges of the Fraternal Order of Police were just the tip of the iceberg. It documented dozens of fundamental deficiencies in our training and decried the lack of standards. This policy robs the well-qualified young officers, who are the majority of each class, of rigorous instruction. I listen to young men and women who feel they have not been adequately prepared for the job.

This lack of standards for officers and managers alike has destroyed confidence and promoted mediocrity. Any criticism, no matter how legitimate or well intended, provokes personal attacks and retaliation. Professionals who understand the need for debate and criticism quickly learn to stifle their urges or sacrifice their careers.

The FOP has repeatedly called for the accreditation of the MPD by an independent commission. Chief Fulwood opposes independent accreditation. Instead, he wants the University of the District of Columbia to "accredit" our academy. While no slight is intended to UDC, it is simply not equipped or experienced for such a mission. We need a comprehensive review of the entire department by experienced law enforcement professionals.

The MPD's technical and materials support is a scandal. Police agencies are information processors. Today our department doesn't have enough working typewriters. It has sent newly graduated recruits into the field without complete uniforms, forcing some rookies to borrow shirts and coats. Computers for investigators and scout car officers are little more than a dream for MPD officers. Many investigators must share vehicles, sometimes getting to use a car only a fraction of the working day.

Prof. Fyfe and Mr. Murphy {op-ed, Dec. 24} call the MPD "lavishly funded." One needs only to look at New York City to find that the District's police receive the same share of the municipal budget, about 6 percent. Chicago spends about 20 percent of its budget on police. Indianapolis spends 11 percent, Boston 9 percent, Philadelphia 12 percent, and Pittsburgh 13 percent.

The Rivlin Commission says there is no relationship between the number of officers on the street and the crime rate. The FOP studied the crime rate for Washington since 1968. The only time crime was significantly reduced was between 1970 and 1973, when it was cut 48 percent. This was when the MPD was increased to 5,100 officers. The department's strength was reduced each year thereafter until it dropped to a low of 3,612 members in 1981. In 1982 we set the all-time record for reported crime with 67,846 offenses. I must also observe that while the Rivlin Commission denies any link between manpower and crime, Fyfe and Murphy defended their inclusion of federal police officers in their discussion of the MPD by linking the presence of uniformed Secret Service officers to the absence of crime near their posts.

The Rivlin Commission's finding that overtime for routine police functions was out of hand is outdated. Programmatic overtime for operations like Cleansweep was eliminated last October. Court overtime is the greatest consumer of the police overtime budget. The FOP agrees with the need for "night papering" and other innovations to reduce the demands on our officers for the same reasons the commission did. We applauded the establishment of night papering and urged the U.S. attorney to reconsider his decision to stop the practice.

The FOP has also lobbied hard for laws that would make the foot patrolman more effective. The loss of anti-loitering and vagrancy laws has made it nearly impossible for officers to clear drug dealers and other criminals from street corners. The anti-loitering drug zone law passed last year by the D.C. Council proved to be most effective in clearing drug dealers from the six areas where it was applied. Honest citizens applauded the police and let their children out to play. The American Civil Liberties Union represented defendants in a test case that struck the law down as unconstitutional. The FOP urged the mayor to appeal the decision, but he did not make an appeal.

That the MPD is inefficient and ill-managed makes this the worst possible time to cut our strength. We must act rationally and professionally to improve the MPD, strengthen laws that help prevent crime, reform our prisons and make the community safer. After we have improved our training, management and support -- and after we have restored safety and sanity to our community -- we can look at the MPD's size, but certainly not before.