Capitol Police To Open Offices in California and Florida ‘To Investigate Threats To Members Of Congress’
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 10: Police officers salute during the procession for U.S. Capitol police officer, Brian D. Sicknick as they stand along Third Street SW on Sunday January 10, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The United States Capitol Police (USCP) released a letter on Tuesday morning announcing “improvements” the department has made since an unruly mob stormed the Capitol on January 6, including plans to open field offices in California and Florida “to investigate threats to Members of Congress.”

“We will never forget USCP Officers Brian Sicknick and Howie Liebengood, who died after the attack, nor the sacrifices of the nearly 150 law enforcement officers who were injured,” wrote Acting USCP Chief Yogananda Pittman. “Throughout the last six months, the United States Capitol Police has been working around the clock with our Congressional stakeholders to support our officers, enhance security around the Capitol Complex, and pivot towards an intelligence-based protective agency.”

USCP officials have said they had no information that the crowd that descended on the Capitol building on January 6 would turn violent. However, Capitol Police were quickly overwhelmed by roughly 800 people who forced their way into the facility as Congress was in the process of certifying the 2020 election results, temporarily disrupting the procedure. The melee resulted in five deaths, several injuries, and approximately $1.5 million in damage to the Capitol building. According to NPR, “the government has brought charges against more than 530 individuals” who allegedly participated in the attack.

Threats against federal legislators are reportedly on the rise. According to Capitol Police, threats have doubled in 2021 compared to this time last year. In March, Pittman said most of the increased threats are from people who reside outside of Washington D.C. The new field offices are promoted as part of an “enhanced member protection” strategy that seeks to improve lawmakers’ security outside of the National Capital Region. The department plans to establish additional regionals offices “in the near future,” Pittman indicated in the letter.

More details from the Los Angeles Times:

Other changes, spurred in part by congressional investigations and reports by the department’s internal watchdog, include increased training for officers alongside the National Guard, improved intelligence gathering efforts and protocols for reporting sensitive information, and new equipment and technology for officers.

Capitol Police rarely provides information to the public on how the agency operates, citing security concerns and member safety. For example, unlike other government agencies, the internal watchdog’s reports are not publicly available…

Traditionally, plainclothes security details accompany only House and Senate leaders or members who have been subject to a specific threat while they are in the Capitol, in Washington and when they are traveling throughout the country. Capitol Police have jurisdiction to investigate all threats made against a member of Congress.

CNN reported that “morale remains low among Capitol Police officers, who say they’re stuck working longer hours amid dwindling ranks.” Union leaders told the outlet that more than 75 officers had left the department since the January 6 breach, at a rate of about three each week.

Related: Terrorism, Homicide Prosecutors Brought In To Try Capitol Riot Defendants For Crimes Like Trespassing

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