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'Orange' Alert Is Dropped in D.C. and N.Y.

"On days when the water is rough, lifeguards are vigilant," he said. "On days when the water is calm, lifeguards are vigilant."

D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said the lowered alert level has prompted him to scale back the overtime detail he had posted at the IMF and World Bank since August.

Police on Capitol Hill stop vehicles and check for IDs and parking permits on First Street NE in August. (James M. Thresher -- The Washington Post)

_____Barriers Removed_____
Map: Athorities removed 14 vehicle checkpoints around the Capitol erected on Aug. 1 because of a "preelection threat" but kept First St. NE between Constitution Avenue and D Street closed.

During the orange alert, the federal government funded police overtime there.

Under the contract with the city's police union, returning to yellow also means Ramsey again must give two-weeks' notice before he alters police shifts.

The high alert had allowed him to immediately order officers onto 12-hour shifts.

In August, several Washington law enforcement officials privately expressed skepticism about raising the alert for the five sites, and some repeated those sentiments yesterday.

"There was never a concrete reason why it was raised to orange in the first place," said one law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of fear of retribution. "I don't think there is a concrete reason why it is now being lowered, except maybe that time passed and nothing had happened."

Asked whether the August orange designation was timed to the election season, Loy, a retired Coast Guard admiral, said: "We don't do politics at this department. . . . It never crosses my mind."

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