I've never been towed to accommodate the president ["In the President's Wake," editorial, Oct. 28], but unreasonable behavior on the part of D.C. police and Secret Service officers doesn't end there. I have witnessed officers screaming conflicting orders at drivers to undertake immediate, illegal and dangerous maneuvers to get out of the way of a motorcade.

Once when I was overtaken by a motorcade, I dared to pause after the first barrage of incomprehensible orders hoping to get clearer instructions. I then received more denigrating and hysterical screams from the cruiser megaphones even though the only way to get out of the way was to cross the yellow line into oncoming traffic or turn into the path of the speeding police cars.

Area citizens deserve more professional behavior.



The Oct. 23 front-page story about the cars being towed to improve President Clinton's security made my blood boil. Protecting the president is important, but I wish the Secret Service had a little more sense and a little less hysteria. As a Washington resident for more than 58 years, I have been observing the Secret Service's way of doing business. It is the most arrogant and seemingly nonaccountable agency of the whole government, subject only to the president's restraint.

The towing policy is terrible not because it inconveniences citizens, and not because the policy is ineptly carried out, but because common sense tells us that the likelihood of a car bomb exploding at the exact moment the president speeds by in his armored limousine is not great. Certainly not great enough to clear a three-block radius in densely parked residential neighborhoods.

What's next? Evacuation of people from their homes? Don't laugh. These are the same people who closed Pennsylvania Avenue, permanently snarling downtown traffic.

The president should tell the Secret Service no when the proposal defies common sense.


Chevy Chase