Virginia politicians expressed outrage, a prostitutes' union threatened a lawsuit, District police apologized and D.C. politicians lay low the day after a band of D.C. police officers tried to clean up a downtown prostitution strip by marching 24 women to the Virginia line. At the same time, several Arlington County police officers suggested that Virginia may have a positive balance of trade when it comes to the exportation of undesirables. The officers said they have sent homeless and mentally ill vagrants across the Memorial Bridge into the District. "I was told by a supervisor to take one guy to the D.C. line and basically deal with the problem that way," one Arlington patrol officer said. "He was put at the end of the bridge and we told him, 'That way is D.C. Go over there.' " If that's true, responded Arlington County Police Chief William K. Stover, his officers were merely trying to save the life of the homeless man by finding him shelter in freezing weather. "We do not have a policy of pushing people across the bridge," Stover said. D.C. police officials said they are investigating the Tuesday morning incident, in which several officers assigned to the 3rd District rounded up two dozen women at 14th and M streets NW and marched them 1.4 miles down the left lane of 14th Street to the 14th Street Bridge. Several of the women said the officers had threatened them with jail if they didn't walk toward Virginia. When a Washington Post photographer and reporter arrived, the police abandoned the march. Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.) took to the Senate floor yesterday to demand that D.C. Mayor Marion Barry "faces this one squarely and acts promptly and decisively." In a later interview, Warner said, "I look upon this incident as damn serious. If it's indicative of the manner in which law enforcement in D.C. is conducted, then Mayor Barry, as captain of the ship, has to be held accountable." Barry wasn't talking about the march yesterday. With 13-year-olds being murdered in the District, he said, he wasn't going to comment on what a few officers did. A spokeswoman said that Barry "is not going to be drawn into this conversation." Virginia Gov. Gerald L. Baliles called the incident a "highly unorthodox law enforcement answer to a problem in the District of Columbia." The president of the Washington chapter of a prostitutes' union, Cast Off Your Old Tired Ethics, said a lawsuit is in the works concerning the march. She said she had talked to the American Civil Liberties Union, which has not yet agreed to represent the women. "This is not the first time it's happened," said Prissy Williams-Godfrey. "The police love to abuse these beautiful whores. They love doing it and knowing they can get away with it." Williams-Godfrey said that several of the women in the march were not prostitutes. "If she's coming out of McDonald's eating a cheeseburger, and she looks whoring and debonair and chic, they take her in." Outgoing D.C. Police Chief Maurice T. Turner Jr., who will leave the post Monday, said the officers probably were frustrated with the slow pace of law enforcement against prostitution. "Some officers out there are stressed out," Turner said. "You go down {there} and you see all these {prostitutes} lined up in miniskirts and next to nothing on them. These officers are out there every night dealing with them . . . . They were obviously taking them over the 14th Street Bridge to Virginia." Arlington Chief Stover said he received a personal apology from D.C. Deputy Chief Edward J. Spurlock, commander of the 3rd District. Spurlock called "to apologize for the incident and to say he was investigating," Stover said. "He promised that appropriate action will be taken to prevent a recurrence." Spurlock did not return telephone calls from The Post yesterday. Police sources said Spurlock was called in by Assistant Chief Isaac Fulwood Jr., who will succeed Turner, for a discussion of the incident. Lt. Reginald L. Smith, the police spokesman, would not comment on that report, and said Fulwood would not be available for interviews on the subject. "The matter is under investigation," Smith said. "It's not something we condone. We certainly don't have a history of doing this." Vice officers interviewed yesterday said the incident may have stemmed from a rivalry among D.C. police districts. Prostitution enforcement is made more difficult because three police districts intersect at 14th and L streets NW, the heart of the prostitution strip. Two vice officers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said a recent crackdown by the 2nd District on prostitutes has sent many of the women across the street to the 3rd District. "What happens is when we begin making arrests, they'll just go across the street to 3D, and then 3D will tell them to walk down the block to 1D, and then they'll eventually come back to us," a 2nd District officer said. One vice detective said the three police districts often act as if they were rival departments. "It's getting ridiculous out there," the detective said. "This new 2D push has just sent them 100 feet the other way. I think the 3D guys just got fed up and decided to do something a little more permanent." Early this morning, police saturated the prostitution zone, with most of the streetwalkers working the 1st District territory southeast of 14th and L streets. Officers, amused by the publicity of the Tuesday morning march, said they were not pleased by what they saw: many more men than usual circling the block and watching the women. At the same time, 12:40 a.m., a bus pulled up at the Holiday Inn at Thomas Circle. As the prostitutes paraded on the sidewalk and drivers gawked at them, a troop of Boy Scouts from Nebraska poured from the bus. Staff writer Sari Horwitz contributed to this report.