The chief of the Capitol Police said Sunday that the force is still 400 officers short as it prepares for the anniversary of the January 6 riot that took place last year.
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said the force has addressed many issues this year but has struggled to maintain its numbers as the force hemorrhaged officers following the events of January 6.
“The one thing that we have not been able to fix, so to speak, are the staffing issues and we’ve lost over 130 officers that have left through either retirements or resignations after January 6,” Manger told host Trace Gallagher on “Fox News Sunday.”
Meanwhile, the pandemic shut down the National Federal Law Enforcement Training Academy for 10 months in 2020, hindering the Capitol Police’s ability to train new officers, Manger said.
“Between not being able to put any academy classes through the prior year, with the attrition, the way it’s been over the past year, we’re now really about 400 officers short of where we need to be and that’s a pretty critical issue for us,” Manger said.
Manger came out of retirement to begin leading the force in July, six months after the Capitol riot. The previous Capitol Police leadership was ousted after the riot amid criticism for their failure to protect the buildings inside which legislators were voting to certify the results of the 2020 election.
Since he took the helm, the Capitol Police has attempted to address some of the issues that were blamed for January 6. That includes new equipment for officers, expanding training sessions with the National Guard, and better mental health services for officers among other improvements.
“The fact that we have the authority to call out the National Guard, the fact that we have formal processes in place to get additional resources from area law enforcement agencies, is a big improvement, and we believe it would have prevented something like January 6 from happening,” the chief said.
Manger also described his personal experience watching the Capitol riot unfold, saying that he was particularly upset watching the assaults against police.
“As I was watching the events on the sixth, very emotional day, alternately just angry, just horrified by the assaults that were going on against police officers there,” Manger said.
Manger previously said that the effects of the Capitol riot went well beyond the physical damage to the building.
“I think that the damage that was done on Jan. 6 was not just the physical damage to the Capitol itself. It was not just the harm, the injuries, the deaths that occurred to the men and women of the Capitol Police Department, to the demonstrators, to the folks that were on the Capitol grounds that day,” Manger told the Associated Press in September. “The damage went beyond that. It went to where it damaged, I think, the confidence of the American public that the Capitol could be adequately protected.”