Because U.S. Capitol Police were “understaffed, insufficiently equipped and inadequately trained” to secure the Capitol and Congress members against a large, violent mob on Jan. 6, a 24/7 “Quick Reaction Force” must be established amid growing security threats to the building, according to a final security review presented Monday by retired Army Lieutenant General Russel Honoré before the House in closed-door sessions.
The 15-page report comes after Honoré and members of his task force conducted a six-week review into what happened at the riot in order to provide recommendations in the following areas: Capitol security operations, infrastructure physical security, and member security in congressional districts, residences and during travel. Recommendations were passed on to the House sergeant-at-arms.
Honoré’s impartiality in conducting such a review in the first place has become a point of concern for Republicans, who cite his past disparaging comments made online against Capitol Police. On Sunday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, D-Calif., issued a statement arguing Honoré’s “notorious partisan bias” raises the “unacceptable possibility” that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., appointed him to lead the security review because she desired “turning the Capitol into a fortress.”
The report stresses the need for Capitol Police to boost its intelligence operations, including, among other things, making command center threat briefings a “daily routine.” The Capitol Police Board’s decision-making process proved “too slow and cumbersome” to respond to the crisis on Jan. 6, the report said.
It recommends revisions to give the U.S. Capitol Police chief authority to request external law enforcement and National Guard support without approval from the board in emergency circumstances, “when necessary to prevent the loss of life or wanton destruction of property and to restore government functions and public order.”
The report also recommends the creation of a dedicated Quick Reaction Force (QRF) for the District of Columbia. National Guard troops currently supplement U.S. Capitol Police, “which is temporarily sufficient but not a permanent solution.” The report recommends the QRF be formed in one of three ways, all of which involve the executive branch.
The first option involves establishing the force from existing federal law enforcement entities, giving appropriate legal authorities and appropriations to staff to train and equip such a force. The second involves establishing the force under the command of the National Guard, which could be done by mobilizing military police from Guard elements across the U.S. on rotations of three to six months. And the third option involves creating a force that permanently resides within the D.C. Guard by reestablishing a military police battalion and staffing it with Active Guard Reserve troops who live in or near the city year-round “perpetually on active-duty.”
The report also addresses “competing desires for maximum public access and guaranteed security.”
“The current, temporary security fencing surrounds such a tremendous area that it requires significant personnel resources to monitor its entire length,” the report says. “As the fencing comes down, we recommend it be replaced with a mobile fencing option that is easily erected and deconstructed and an integrated, retractable fencing system in the long term for both the Capitol and Congressional office buildings.”
In his statement issued Sunday, McCarthy said he met with Honoré on Wednesday after the report was completed and asked the general about prior statements, “including his inflammatory accusation that Capitol Police officers themselves were complicit in the attack.” Honoré reiterated that he made those statements before he was appointed to conduct the security review, McCarthy said.
McCarthy also said he told the task force the main problem with Capitol Police is management structure.
“Structure dictates behavior, and a Capitol Police Board dominated by political appointees is no way to maintain the security of the Capitol,” McCarthy said.
According to the report, Congress must direct Capitol Police to address immediate shortfalls, currently 233 officers, through enhanced recruiting and incentive programs. Congress must also immediately appropriate funding to hire an additional 350 officers “needed to buy-down the longstanding and well-documented overtime problem” within the U.S. Capitol Police.
- [LLODO] Slain Capitol Officer William ‘Billy’ Evans lies in honor at Rotunda
- [LLODO] Slain Capitol Officer William ‘Billy’ Evans to lie in honor at Rotunda
- [LLODO] ‘Clear the Capitol,’ Pence pleaded, timeline of riot shows
- [LLODO] Suspect in Capitol riot allegedly ‘severely beaten’ by DC jail guards
- [LLODO] Capitol officer remembered for humor, paying ultimate price
- [LLODO] Capitol police officer who survived fatal car-ramming attack released from hospital as motive remains unclear
- [LLODO] Latest attack pushes US Capitol Police further toward crisis
- [LLODO] Capitol riot suspect charged with using ‘electroshock weapon,’ flagpole to assault DC police officer
- [LLODO] Capitol Police officers involved in the Jan. 6th riot now sharing their stories on USCP social media platforms