Virginia drivers who take Rte. 1 through Fort Belvoir may not have noticed a pleasant surprise last week because the surprise was something that wasn't there.

For the most part, ticketing of civilian motorists by military police was curtailed from Thursday afternoon until Friday morning, while some MPs attended a class in "reeducation on the purpose of giving a ticket," according to Maj. Sandor Ketzis, a spokesman.

But traffic violators beware. The roughly 200 MPs at Fort Belvoir are back with their ticket books, newly armed with a legal indoctrination on traffic offenses.

The ticketing of civilians, except in the case of major offenses, was suspended temporarily because the base command felt it necessary to "reiterate some of the finer points" for giving tickets, Ketzis said. "We want to make sure that when we do it, a warning wouldn't be more appropriate."

Ketzis declined to say whether the MPs had been giving out too many tickets for minor offenses, but one MP, who asked not to be named, said some soldiers had become overzealous about applying the letter of the law over such things as failure to stop completely at a stop sign. Ticketing of military personnel was unaffected by the suspension.