Union claims U.S. Capitol Police to staff posts with civilians

Neal Augenstein, wtop.com

WASHINGTON — The union representing U.S. Capitol Police says the department plans to put civilian employees on posts formerly staffed by sworn officers. This announcement includes posts at the Ford House Office Building.

The Ford building is occupied by staff of various committees of the House, the Congressional Budget Office and the Architect of the Capitol. In addition, it is home to a child-care facility.

Chris Ferguson of the U.S. Capitol Police Labor Committee says the department plans to staff a kiosk at a security entrance to the building garage with a civilian.

“In my 24 years here, there’s always been a sworn officer at this post,” Ferguson says.

Ferguson says the department intends to have a member of the Congressional Parking Security Department raise and lower the safety barrier embedded in the pavement. He says operation of the safety barrier can be characterized as deadly force, and sworn officers are trained on when and how to grant access.

Spokesman for the U.S. Capitol Police Officer Shennell Antrobus would not address staffing specifics at any security post, but tells WTOP, “We don’t ask civilians to do law enforcement roles.”

“I don’t think anyone should have any concern. We are there to serve and protect,” Antrobus says.

According to Ferguson, the union has not been told why the change is being made.

In recent months, U.S. Capitol Police have closed several entrances to buildings, as part of ongoing effort to tweak security plans.

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