Since Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. Capitol Police hastried to become a premier anti-terrorism force, rapidly expanding as the agency’s budget tripled. The Washington Post reports that a series of recent mistakes has highlighted the difficulties of changing a force once made up of glorified security guards. One-quarter of the newest batch of recruits was hired despite failing criminal checks and other criteria; a team of officers overlooked a crude bomb in a truck; and the police radio system keeps breaking down.
A Senate committee will hold a hearing next week on the problems. The Capitol Police has had no standard financial statements, poor procurement controls, critical shortages of civilian personnel, and inadequate hiring policies, according to reports by the Government Accountability Office. “There was a hyper-focus on bringing in bodies and money and no focus on accountability,” said Salley Collins of the Republican staff on the House Administration Committee. “Management didn’t keep up with the growth of the department.”