Government watchdogs say the Capitol Police still haven’t made enough improvements to the complex’s security since the deadly January 6 Capitol riot, The Washington Post reports.
The Government Accountability Office said that unless the Capitol Police Board fully implements “countermeasures to mitigate risks” on the Capitol, it “not fulfilling its responsibility in overseeing the Capitol Police’s protection of Congress and the Capitol Building.”
The GAO said that Capitol Police was unprepared on Jan. 6 because its planning “did not reflect the potential for extreme violence aimed at the Capitol and did not include contingencies for support from other agencies.”
The report noted that the department received assistance from 2,000 other law enforcement officers on Jan. 6 but the police “lacked clear, detailed procedures.”
“Without such procedures, the Capitol Police and the Board may be hampered in their ability to request aid quickly and effectively in future emergencies,” the GAO said.
The report also said the department’s process for “assessing and mitigating physical security risks to the Capitol complex is not comprehensive or documented.”
“The Capitol Police conducts regular security assessments of the Capitol complex and buildings, but it does so without a documented procedure to ensure completeness and consistency,” the GAO said.
Michael Bolton, the Capitol Police inspector general, also told a House committee this week that although the department has “made security improvements throughout the Capitol complex, much work still needs to be addressed in relation to training, intelligence, cultural change and operational planning.”
Bolton called for “an overall cultural change … to move the department into a protective agency as opposed to a traditional police department.”
All Capitol Police training, “no matter what it is,” he added, should be “driven by that mission of protection.”
The GAO urged the Capitol Police to take key steps to improve outside police assistance and risk mitigation policies.
The Capitol Police Board told the GAO it is “committed to implementing any physical security upgrades that will secure the safety of the Capitol complex.”
Bolton said 39 of his office’s 104 recommendations have been implemented.
Out of the 200 “security enhancements” the department promised, he said, only 61 “have supporting documentation to support those enhancements that have occurred.”