WASHINGTON — Describing an array of threats faced by lawmakers and the U.S. Capitol complex, law enforcement leaders on Thursday asked lawmakers to consider approving a substantial funding hike.
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa asked lawmakers for a funding increase of $33 million — or 8 percent — next year.
Some of the money would go to hiring 72 additional officers. Verderosa testified that most of those officers would be used to address security “vulnerabilities” on the House side of the Capitol complex. He also envisions “increased coverage for member events going forward,” following the June 14 attack on Republican lawmakers who were practicing at an Alexandria field, ahead of the annual Congressional baseball game.
The additional officers would bring the total number of Capitol Police officers to 1,943.
“We’re in a dynamic threat environment,” said Senate Sergeant at Arms Frank Larkin, who helps oversee Capitol Police, in his testimony. “The shooting two weeks ago perpetrated by a lone assailant highlight the potential for threats off campus and in member home districts.”
The office of the Senate Sergeant at Arms asked for a funding increase of $7 million, with most of the money to be used for the cybersecurity of Senate networks.
Larkin said active shooter threats and vehicle attacks are also among their top concerns.
Verderosa added that additional screening measures are needed to keep the Capitol complex safe.
Lawmakers on the Senate subcommittee universally praised Capitol Police for their response to the Alexandria shooting. A similar funding measure for Capitol Police is making its way through the House.
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