Even after a big budget boost for the U.S. Capitol Police, the force is still in dire need of more officers to face the challenges of an coming presidential election, a recently reopened Capitol and growing threats against members, says Chief J. Thomas Manger. Manger asked the Senate Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday for more funding to allow the department to staff up, Roll Call reports. Its $840.9 million fiscal 2024 request is a more than 14 percent increase over current funding. Much of that money would go toward hiring and retention, Manger said. “We still are forcing officers to work overtime that they wouldn’t necessarily volunteer for,” he. “We’re holding them over at the end of their shifts. We’re canceling days off to make sure we have enough folks for a particular event.”
“I know that this is not a sustainable strategy,” the chief continued. “And the only way we're going to be able to fix that is to get our staffing levels up to what I've asked for in FY 24.” The force received a 22 percent boost in funding from fiscal 2022 to fiscal 2023. Manger outlined plans to bring the force to the equivalent of 2,165 full-time employees. After the Jan. 6, 2021, attack, the Capitol Police experienced record levels of attrition, ultimately leading to the use of contract security officers to fill gaps left by departing officers. Capitol Police lost between 140 and 150 officers from Jan. 6, 2021, to Jan. 6, 2022, an attrition rate double that of other years. At one point in 2022, the department was 300 officers short. “There's one big reason that we're facing the attrition that we're facing, and that is that officers are being burnt out,” Manger said.