WASHINGTON — A new task forced assigned to review the U.S. Capitol Police and provide recommendations after the riots on Jan. 6 said the department was "understaffed, insufficiently equipped and inadequately trained."
Task Force 1-6, led by Lieutenant General Russel Honoré, met with USCP and several law enforcement agencies to draft a report that recommended widespread changes, including hiring more than 1,000 personnel, implementing body-worn cameras and installing a retractable fence.
"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 to secure both the Capitol Building and Congressional office buildings," the report read. "Such a solution could enable an open campus while giving security forces better options to protect the complex and its members should a threat develop."
There's reportedly a gap of 233 officers that needs to be filled on the force. With 720,000 hours of overtime in the last fiscal year, there was no room for necessary and additional training to prepare for any threat, according to the report. The task force recommended hiring 350 officers to decrease overtime costs and focus on assigned missions, and 524 other positions to fulfill roles in intelligence, planning, supervising and the Civil Disturbance Unit (CDU).
The CDU would respond to illegal activities during First Amendment assemblies, mass demonstrations or civil unrest. Currently, the USCP CDU is only available when planned for in advance limiting the ability to react quickly, security experts said.
The study also found USCP failed to use "talk groups" on the radio and didn't take full advantage of its highly capable radio system to prevent confusion. As a result, every officer must be equipped with earpieces and the report strongly recommended the use of body-worn cameras.
The report also suggested USCP increase its Explosive Detection Dog Force and consider having a mounted unit, as well-trained horses and riders can assist in controlling crowds.
There were questions and concerns surrounding the lack of assistance early in the insurrection. As a result, the recommendations included the USCP chief not needing the board's approval to request access for assistance from the National Guard. Additionally, the commanding general of the DC National Guard should have "emergency authority...in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the President is impossible..." USCP should also develop a plan for employing outside law enforcement in accordance to the National Incident Management System, according to the report.
The task force also found USCP has "poor threat identification" and needs routine analysis and training. The study said it has "fewer than a handful of people have significant intelligence training" and "lacks experience, knowledge and processes to provide intelligence support against emerging domestic threats."
It was also important to recommend screening portals for visitors and enhanced background checks.
In a statement, the USCP leadership indicated it would cooperate with Honoré and his team to comply with the recommendations made.
"We believe enhancements to the Capitol complex’s physical infrastructure are required," a USCP statement said. "We also agree we need to increase our manpower and overall response capabilities. The Department will continue to work with our congressional stakeholders and law enforcement partners as we strengthen our security measures at the Capitol."