Manger has put a tremendous effort this week to show the extent of these changes. In an interview with POLITICO, for example, he explained new tools and tactics such as improved cell phones, combat equipment and more regular threat analyzes. He told reporters Tuesday that the Capitol Police are now “stronger and better prepared” than they were before January 6, 2021.
But the police are still struggling with one major weakness: Too few officers on duty. According to the report, the current shortage is around 447 officers.
It presented several solutions to the department’s staff shortage, which the report identified as the department’s “biggest challenge”.
The “fastest option,” the report says, involves hiring private security officers in positions where a Capitol Police Officer may not be required or where the department needs a “tactical advantage.” The use of contractors would complement the force and free officers for more training and vacation options, the report said. The Capitol Police union has criticized the proposal, although Manger told reporters on Tuesday that it was “an ongoing discussion. We’ll work with them and try to address their concerns. ”
The second part of the strategy involved improving health programs for the force in order to retain officers.
The report also said the Capitol Police are on the verge of completing a nationwide search for an intelligence chief that is part of a major overhaul of the department in response to the errors revealed by the violent attack on January 6, 2021.
Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi praised the Capitol Police Board report as evidence of “important continuous progress in protecting the Capitol, honoring the sacrifice of our Capitol Police heroes, and defending our American democracy with the release of this report.”
The Capitol Police’s sweeping response comes as many lawmakers remain concerned about the safety of their DC and county offices, with frequent threats to both members and their employees.
Several Democrats raised the security issue in a private conversation with Manger and Walker on Tuesday afternoon. For example, Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., Asked questions about keeping lawmakers safe at home because members cannot use their office money on personal security – only campaign money. Another Democrat, Chairman of the House of Representatives for Education and Labor, Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Sought answers to the Capitol’s ongoing review of its firearms policy.
Majority leader in the house Steny Hoyer had previously asked for clarification on the firearms policy of security officials – including a clear ban on firearms in hearing rooms, committee rooms and other areas of public gatherings within the Capitol complex.
The two security officers also explained some of the other ideas considered: such as a proposal for improved control of visitors to the Capitol, similar to the White House system. They also discussed plans to strengthen security at entry checkpoints.
Sarah Ferris contributed to this report.