There was a lot of police activity a few evenings back in the 1500 block of L Street NW, on the north side of the Capital Hilton Hotel, around the corner from the Soviet Embassy. About a half dozen officers were present, and tickets had sprouted on the windshields of several vehicles.

Post reporter Martin Weil, on his way to work, stopped long enough to ask some questions. Weil's report:

"D.C. police were supervising the towing of diplomatic cars . . . apparently the cars of Soviet Embassy personnel . . . A police sergeant said this towing of diplomatic cars during the rush hour was not a new policy, but indicated that in this case it may have been in response to a severe traffic jam on Wednesday with Soviet vehicles on one side of L and vehicles from the hotel on the other. The street has no-stopping restrictions during rush hours.

"The police sergeant said, as I recall, that they are allowed to tow diplomatic cars, but not to impound them and demand $50 for their return. He said that they tow them to the nearest legal parking space, which at that place and time was 17th and D streets NW seven blocks away . . . .as I recall.

"The sergeant appeared to take some delight in the prospect of making the owners or operators of these vehicles march off to retrieve them . . . . "

To which MetroScene adds: hooray for the Metropolitan Police!