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Capitol Police watchdog says agency hasn’t improved enough since January 6

By on December 7, 2021 0


WASHINGTON – Michael Bolton, the Capitol Inspector General of Police, told Congress on Tuesday that the agency had not done enough to improve its operations following the Jan.6 attack on the Capitol.

Bolton made the comments during testimony before a Senate Rules Committee that heard about efforts by the Capitol Police to revamp their procedures. He said that “out of 200 security enhancements that the ministry provided to the Inspector General, only 61 of those items have supporting documentation to substantiate that these enhancements have taken place.”

Some of the improvements that have been implemented, he said, include intelligence briefings provided to base officers and department leaders. The department also distributed cell phones to all officers, in response to poor radio communications on January 6.

But even with those improvements, Bolton said, around 200 officers have left the force since the Capitol riot.

“The department still lacks the comprehensive training infrastructure to meet the needs of the department, the level of intelligence gathering and expertise needed, and the overall cultural change needed to transform the department into a protection agency as opposed to to a traditional police service, ”Bolton mentioned.

He said “a lot of work still needs to be done” in many elements of the Capitol Police in order to move from a traditional police service to a protection agency after January 6. Bolton said the Capitol Police “lack the infrastructure for the training, intelligence gathering and expertise necessary to prevent future attacks and global cultural change.

Among his recommendations, Bolton said the department should hire a full-time intelligence director and create “an autonomous, comprehensive and robust intelligence office.”

Senator Angus King, I-Maine, who is also a member of the Intelligence Committee, said he did not agree with the idea of ​​creating another intelligence office, arguing that Capitol Police can already rely on the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security for intelligence.

“For me, it is a coordination problem rather than an intelligence gathering problem,” he said during Tuesday’s hearing. “The tragedy is having intelligence, but it may not reach the people who need it.”

King also asked why the windows on the Capitol’s first floor are not bulletproof. Bolton said it would not come under his authority and would likely involve the architect of the Capitol.

Of 104 recommendations Bolton’s office made to the Capitol Police, he said only 30 had been implemented. The Inspector General said there had been a “reluctance” on the part of the Capitol Police to increase security clearances, as this would create complications for the hiring process and institute a new policy for officers. existing.

Responding to Bolton’s testimony, USCP said, “The United States Capitol Police agree with the Inspector General that the department must continue to improve and expand its intelligence and protection capabilities.

“While there is still work to be done, the ministry has made immense progress in first addressing the specific shortcomings that led to the January 6 attack, such as improving how the USCP collects, analyzes and distributes intelligence, professionalizing major event planning, implementing joint pre-event exercises, conducting in-person briefings for uniformed officers prior to events, developing a process to get help from partner agencies, order additional equipment, run dozens of training sessions, expand the wellness division, and add a new external communication plan to improve speed and accuracy information for the public and journalists, ”the USCP added.

When Senator Shelley Moore Capito, RW.Va., asked Bolton if the Capitol Police had carried out a full-fledged exercise in the Capitol complex, he said that they only carried out evacuation drills of individual buildings.

Capito referred to the school shooting in Oxford, Mich. Last week and said Congress should conduct full-scale drills just like students do with an active shooter.

Bolton said his office plans to release a final Capitol Police report in relation to Jan.6 in the coming days.

Committee chair Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said Tuesday’s hearing would be the first in a series. She said the next hearing will take place next month and will include testimony from Capitol Hill Police Chief Tom Manger.

Meanwhile, the special House committee investigating the riot stepped up its investigation into the riot. Marc Short, who was chief of staff to then-vice president Mike Pence, is cooperating with the committee, two people familiar with the panel’s activities told NBC News.


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