One year after the attack on Capitol, chief of police marks improvements

WASHINGTON (AP), -- One year after Jan. 6, Capitol Attack, the U.S. Capitol Police chief said Wednesday that he was making progress in resolving "critical defects" despite severe staffing shortages. He also warned of thousands of threats to Congress members.

One year after the attack on Capitol, chief of police marks improvements

Chief J. Thomas Manger declared, "We're going back to be tested again" and would be prepared.

Manger stated that the changes include increasing the agency's capacity to share intelligence with state and federal law enforcement forces. This failure contributed to the lack of defense forces at Capitol's violent insurrection, when rioters battled past outnumbered police, leaving over 100 officers injured.

Manger is addressing recommendations from an internal watchdog for the agency to be changed from a traditional police force to a protective force.

Manger testified that January 6 revealed critical flaws in operational planning, intelligence and staffing. "I am aware that these issues must be addressed and that is what I am doing.

Manger was appointed the new leader of the force shortly after the attack. He said that the force is now stronger and more equipped to deal with an attack on the Capitol or legislators than it was one year ago.

After a U.S. Capitol Police Inspector general report, it was found that 75% of the 1,800 sworn officers and almost 400 civilian employees were required to protect the Capitol in regular uniforms. This often led to them being confronted by rioters better equipped for a fight.

The biggest problem the force has to face is staffing, even with the latest equipment and intelligence-sharing capabilities. Manger stated that the agency is currently short of 450 officers. Over 150 officers have resigned or retired in the last year.

The chief plans to increase transfers from other law enforcement agencies in the short-term and contract with private security agents for areas that don't require armed officers. He plans to hire 280 officers annually over the next three-years.

Manger stated, "That will get them ahead of attrition and my hope that it will get us where we need be in terms staffing."

The rise in threats to their homelands and states is also a concern for lawmakers.

"Many people in the room, including committee members, have experienced them." Senator Amy Klobuchar (chairwoman of the Senate Committee) stated Wednesday that there were over 9,000 threats to her life in 2021.

Manger stated that the Capitol Police seeks to strengthen coordination with local law enforcement in order to better protect lawmakers' homes and offices.

Manger stated that "keeping up with the threat level is our greatest challenge." "We have doubled the number officers who investigate these threats. ... If they keep going up in the same way, we will need more officers to take on this responsibility."

The department also plans to hire a new deputy chief for the intelligence role.

Manger stated that the breaching occurred a year ago due to intelligence and leadership problems within the Capitol Police. Manger stated that a few phone calls can now get significantly more officers in place to protect the Capitol complex.

Manger stated that although we are going to be tested again, we have set up procedures to ensure that we won't be affected by intelligence failures, failure to plan ahead, failures to imagine, or insufficient people. "I am confident that we will be fine when we are tested again," Manger said.

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