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Capitol Police focus on threat investigations, staffing, fully reopening Capitol ahead of Jan. 6 anniversary

(WASHINGTON) — Ahead of the second anniversary of the deadly Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol, U.S. Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger told lawmakers his department is focused on three key areas, threat investigations, fully reopening the Capitol in the next three months and staffing.

Just weeks after Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul Pelosi was attacked in their San Francisco home, Manger told lawmakers on Monday his department fielded more than 9,625 threats against Members of Congress in 2021.

Threats

Manger said there has been a large uptick in threats against lawmakers over the past few years. In 2017, his department fielded around 3,939 threats against lawmakers, saying threats had “gone up steadily and profoundly over the last five or six years.”

Manger told senators that member security in the future has to focus not just on threats in Washington, D.C., but on lawmakers in their home districts. He said he wants a small, full-time staff that develops relationships with the state and local law enforcement for members of Congress.

“It’s not enough just to identify the bad actors,” Manger said. “Those that commit prosecutable offenses must be called to account for their actions within the criminal justice system, recognizing that these threats are difficult to prosecute.”

Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said that in 2021, Capitol Police referred 458 threat cases for prosecution, but only 40 resulted in prosecution.

“It is disheartening to me that our prosecution roommate’s rate remains so low,” Manger told lawmakers.

He said three U.S. attorneys have been assigned to the Capitol Police to prosecute threat cases, but said they need more assistance. “The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office are very helpful, but they have a huge caseload and for us. A threat against a member of Congress is high priority.”

Staffing

Manger told lawmakers his goal was to increase the number of sworn police staff to more than 2,000 officers and senior staff to over 450 by the end of fiscal year 2023.

“Since Jan. 6, we have hired over 350 new recruits, 175 of which have graduated from the academy and are now covering posts throughout the Capitol grounds,” Manger told lawmakers on Monday. “Our hiring and recruitment efforts also include 55 contract Capitol Security Officers.”

The contracted security officers are located at primarily secondary posts and have allowed Capitol Police to be able to free up staffing for police officers, Manger said. Ensuring that officers get relieved at the end of their shifts prevents unnecessary overtime, as well as vacations that aren’t interrupted due to scheduling, a common practice for many Capitol Police officers before Jan 6.

Manger, in a plea to lawmakers, said he wants more protection agents. Told senators that he felt Capitol Police doesn’t provide the level of protection to some members of Congressional leadership that the executive branch receives.

Reopening the Capitol

Prior to the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol, the buildings that make up the Capitol Complex were closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Manger told lawmakers on Monday he felt that they will be able to fully reopen the Capitol to pre-COVID levels within the next three months.
Prior to the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol, the buildings that make up the Capitol Complex were closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Manger told lawmakers on Monday he felt that they will be able to fully reopen the Capitol to pre-COVID levels within the next three months.

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