Capitol police face staffing challenges ahead of January 6 anniversary
Congressional correspondent Aishah Hasnie has the latest from Capitol Hill on ‘Special Report’
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger insists that since he took over last summer his agency has addressed the shortcomings they had when responding to rioters on Jan. 6, 2021, but House Republicans are not buying it.
During a hearing before the Senate Rules Committee on Wednesday, Manger said that while Capitol Police “will be tested again,” they will be equipped to handle it given the steps they have taken.
“I am pleased to report that we have addressed a significant portion of the many recommendations issued to the Department. In fact, of the more than 100 recommendations issued by the Inspector General, we have implemented and are addressing over 90 of them,” Manger said, referring to an inspector general’s report discussing the department’s shortcomings.
Manger said a big reason why the riot on Jan. 6 got out of control was a “lack of a department-wide operational plan for the joint session,” and that since them “a blueprint for operational planning has been created.”
“If Jan. 6 taught us anything, it’s that preparation matters,” Manger said.
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger is sworn in to testify before a Senate Rules and Administration Committee oversight hearing on the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, in Washington.
(Tom Williams/Pool via AP)
Among those changes, Manger said, are an improved Civil Disturbance Unit, a new critical incident response plan, an established bicycle response team, and the inclusion of a former Secret Service official who has assisted them in planning.
“Few changes,” Manger added, “are as dramatic as the ones that we’ve made to the way we gather, analyze, share, use and disseminate intelligence.”
A written statement to the committee included details of measures, including “large-scale joint exercises” with federal law enforcement, providing cellphones to officers to improve communication, “improved and expanded training sessions for recruits, officers, and supervisors,” and improvements to their public information office.
Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger testifies during a Senate Rules and Administration Committee oversight hearing on the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, in Washington.
(Tom Williams/Pool via AP)
Despite Manger’s claims, House Republican leadership is not necessarily convinced that the Capitol Police is ready for a future protest.
One GOP source told Fox News it is “very difficult to reconcile” what Manger is saying publicly about security upgrades when it flies in the face with some of what has been said by Capitol Police Inspector General Michael Bolton. While Manger said his department was “addressing” 90 of Bolton’s 104 security recommendations, Republicans note that Capitol Police have yet to implement 64 of them.
The GOP source suggested that either Bolton or Manger is not being truthful.
Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
One Republican leadership source pointed to the continued presence of assistant chief Yogananda Pittman.
“The only people who really took the fall were [former Capitol Police Chief Steven] Sund and [former Assistant Chief] Chad Thomas,” the source said, adding that Pittman is “still there” nearly a year later.
“There have been no real, meaningful changes,” the source said.
One area that Manger has readily admitted needs improvement is the size of his force.
“One thing that we have not been able to fix, so to speak, are the staffing issues,” Manger told “Fox News Sunday,” noting that nearly a year after the riot he is still “about 400 officers short of where we need to be.”
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