Almost two years after the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, Capitol police unveiled “significant improvements” to the department to protect against another large-scale attack.
Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said in a news release that the department is “clearly better off” than what it was before the events of Jan. 6, 2021, when more than 2,000 protesters outside the U.S. Capitol breached the building in an effort to subvert the results of the 2020 presidential election. More than 140 officers were injured, and Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died from multiple strokes after he was sprayed with a chemical substance during the riot.
Some of the improvements highlighted by Manger include creating relationships with police departments in and around the Washington, D.C. area and bringing on law enforcement officials with knowledge of national security events. Congress has also passed legislation that will allow Capitol police to call in the National Guard, instead of waiting for prior approval. On Jan. 6, National Guard troops didn’t arrive on the scene for several hours.
“Perhaps most important, the United States Capitol Police is successfully recruiting and training new police officers at a rate that will, in the next several months, put us above our pre-pandemic and pre-January 6 staffing levels,” Manger said.
In total, the department has implemented over 100 advancements.
“The current threat climate, particularly against elected officials, will require continued and heightened vigilance. We will do everything possible to fulfill our mission of protecting the Members of Congress, the Capitol Complex and the legislative process,” Manger said.
Threats against members of Congress have increased drastically within the last five years, according to Capitol police. The agency investigated nearly 10,000 threats in just 2021.
“With the polarized state of our nation, an attack like the one our Department endured on January 6, 2021, could be attempted again. Should the unthinkable happen, we will be ready,” Manger said.