Death of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Revives Concerns Over Security, Safety

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In the wake of the January 6 riot, as well as an attack on Friday that resulted in the death of Billy Evans, an 18-year veteran of the U.S. Capitol Police,and the serious injury of another, scores of Capitol police officers are considering early retirement, top leaders have resigned and those in office face increasing criticism as security concerns over the events of the past four months have many considering altering how the department operates and whether historically public grounds can remain open, reports the Associated Press. Hundreds of officers are considering retirement or finding jobs elsewhere, union chair Gus Papathanasiou said in a statement.

In the months since the insurrection, many officers have routinely worked 12-hour days or longer to protect the building during Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration and impeachment proceedings against former President Donald Trump. Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman received a vote of no confidence from the union in February, reflecting widespread distrust among the rank and file. The most recent attack over the weekend, in which a knife-wielding assailant slammed his car into two Capitol officers, underscores that the Capitol will always be a target, said retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, who chaired a task force that made several security recommendations following the insurrection. The task force called for a renewed push to fill the 233 open positions on the force and for Congress to fund 350 new jobs and new fencing systems and other infrastructure. The task force also wants Congress to give the Capitol Police chief new authority to seek National Guard support in a crisis. The Capitol police’s current operating budget is $460 million.

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