Six months after a pro-Trump mob breached the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to prevent Joe Biden from being certified as the 46th president of the United States, U.S. Capitol Police has announced departmental changes to training, communication, security and wellness services.
Among the improvements announced by the Capitol Police on Tuesday is an expanded wellness service program for officers. USCP is bringing in psychological trauma and stress specialists, offering spiritual support services and developing a peer support team. There are also two new support dogs for Capitol Police — Lila and Filip.
Changes to training protocols will include “joint training with the National Guard, riot training, shoot/don’t shoot scenarios, and less-than-lethal exercises,” the news release said. “The Department is also increasing its use of force, tactical, equipment, leadership, and incident command training.”
In addition, USCP will beef up its protections for members of Congress outside of Capitol grounds. Regional field offices will open in California and Florida, and perhaps other locations in the future, to investigate threats to Congress members.
Efforts to better protect officers have also been ramped up. More helmets, shields, batons and munition have been ordered, while the Department of Defense is loaning surveillance technology to Capitol Police to help detect and monitor threat activity on the grounds.
USCP has also crafted a Critical Incident Response Plan, which would allow for local, state and federal authorities to help in emergencies. They are also asking for National Guard assistance without board approval in emergency situations.
It also recently launched a new recruitment effort, which includes the use of its social media platforms and traditional media.
According to the news release, USCP is working on better communication and intelligence-sharing with officers, law enforcement partners, the intelligence community and congressional stakeholders.
Two Capitol Police officers, Brian Sicknick and Howie Liebengood, died following the insurrection on Jan. 6, and about 150 officers were injured that day.
The Justice Department has called the criminal investigation into what happened six months ago one of the largest in U.S. history. More than 500 people have been arrested for their involvement.
“We honor all the brave men and women who, against all odds, faced down a violent crowd that day and protected our elected leaders and everyone who was in the Capitol Complex,” Acting USCP Chief Yogananda Pittman said in a statement Tuesday. “We will never forget their bravery and will continue to work in their honor.”