PEACE OFFICER OF THE MONTH: B. Daniel New, National Soft Drink Association police officer, a k a "the soda pop cop." OFFICIAL DUTIES: Screening anyone who enters the National Soft Drink Association building at 16th and L streets NW; keeping loiterers from the brown brick courtyard in front of the building. "Really, I'm just a peace officer. I don't tell people what they should and should not be drinking." UNOFFICIAL DUTIES: "I sort of meet and greet everybody who passes by my corner. I've been here almost seven years, and I know just about everybody on the block." CREDENTIALS: A stint in the Navy, a benevolent attitude and a discerning palate. JOB PERKS: Being a walking conversation piece. "I was at a filling station and this guy walked up and says, 'Isn't this the sweetest thing you ever saw?' And then, as if that wasn't enough, he called his wife over. I said, 'Hey, I'm the soda pop cop,' and laughed it off. This job makes you learn how to laugh at yourself." BIGGEST HURDLE: Not being taken seriously. "It is sometimes difficult to assert your authority when you have a National Soft Drink police badge on your arm." BIGGEST HAZARD: Being taken too seriously. "I stopped in a liquor store to pick up a little weekend libation, and the guy behind the counter yells, 'Hey, you! What are you doing here?' I guess he thought it was an official visit."