The chief of the U.S. Capitol Police testified in the Senate on Wednesday, on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack, to update lawmakers on improvements to the building’s security.
Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger is appearing before the Senate rules committee at a hearing titled “Oversight of the U.S. Capitol Police Following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.”
Wednesday’s is the third oversight hearing on the subject by the rules committee.
In his opening remarks, Thomas told the committee that Capitol Police are more prepared than ever to protect the building and acknowledge past failures that led to the historic breach a year ago by extremist supporters of former President Donald Trump who tried to block certification of Joe Biden’s election.
“The work of my officers makes it possible for members to serve their constituents and to engage in their legislative functions in a safe and secure environment,” Thomas said.
“On Jan. 6, my officers prevailed in that mission. Confronted with a violent mob and vastly outnumbered, they displayed resilience, fortitude and unimaginable bravery.
“Together with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, they fought under conditions that, in my four decades of law enforcement, I have never witnessed.”
Manger was expected to outline various ways his department is now better prepared, including improvements in gathering, sharing and disseminating intelligence — which investigators say was a key shortcoming that aided in the attack last year.
Manger will also detail upgrades to the department’s civil disturbance unit, which include updating communications and coordination efforts and participating in joint exercises with federal law enforcement partners.
Police fight with rioters supporting former President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. File Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI
“No law enforcement agency can be effective if its officers are unprepared,” Manger said in his opening remarks. “Preparation cannot be achieved without training. Thus, training is a top priority for the department.”
Manger said that although the U.S. Capitol Police Department is now better prepared to handle such an attack than it was a year ago, more is still being done to improve readiness.
“I am confident that the U.S. Capitol Police is a stronger, better prepared law enforcement agency,” he wrote. “However, we cannot afford to be complacent. I have asked a lot of the entire department and will continue to press for more.
“The safety and security of the U.S. Capitol, the Congress, and the legislative process remain the top priorities.”