Tom Manger, former police chief in Maryland’s Montgomery County and Virginia’s Fairfax County, wrapped up his first year as U.S. Capitol Police chief, bringing major changes to a department rioters besieged on Jan. 6, 2021.
Manger, who was hired last July, said security reviews of the events on Jan. 6 served as a road map for some of the changes he’s helped institute over the past year. For example, he said intelligence is now better handled, strengthening overall security.
“Not only are we gathering information much better than we did, but we are disseminating it the way it should be disseminated, neither of which was being done at the level on Jan. 6 that it’s being done today. So, our security posture is based on that intelligence; it’s based on our ability to respond to threats, all of which have been improved over the past year,” Manger said in an interview with WTOP.
Operational planning has been brought up to par, ensuring officers are in a better state of readiness to handle big and small events.
Unfinished business is staffing. Manger has said he would like to add as many as 400 officers to the ranks of the U.S. Capitol Police, but the law enforcement agency, like others across the nation, is seeing staffing shortages.
“We’re probably 200 under where we’re authorized to be, but we’re in a lot better shape today than we were a year ago,” Manger said.
On Friday, Manger swore-in members of its newest recruit class. While the department added about 100 officers last year, it continues to grapple with a surge of retirements and resignations for various reasons following the Jan. 6 riot.
Meanwhile, Manger — who introduced body-worn cameras to Montgomery County in 2016 — hopes to start a pilot program for Capitol Police officers over the next year.
“We have a lot of officers who are posted outside that have direct contact with the public, and what I’d like to do is a pilot program and put body-worn cameras on those officers … this would just show the community just how challenging this job can be and how good my cops are at doing it,” Manger said.
Manger said the department is maintaining strong relationships with state and local police across the nation to help provide security for members of Congress during the upcoming midterm elections, during a time of increasing threats against political leaders.
“We’ve got things in place to ensure that when the members are out and about, they have some level of security, but it’s difficult because there are so many members of Congress,” said Manger.
Following more than 40 years in policing, Manger came out of retirement to become chief of the U.S. Capitol Police. It is something Manger says he’s proud of.
“There’s still some things to be done, and I’m going to stick around long enough to make sure that we get those things done … I’m enjoying what I’m doing, I think it’s important work, and I’m very pleased to be here,” said Manger.