Almost 14 months after last year’s Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, its police force remains a work in progress. Two new government watchdog reports on the U.S. Capitol Police department’s response to the violent assault on democracy by supporters of former president Trump found a variety of serious law enforcement weaknesses that persist more than a year later, reports the Washington Post. Until the Capitol Police Board fully implements “countermeasures to mitigate risks” on Capitol Hill, a Government Accountability Office report says, the panel “is not fulfilling its responsibility in overseeing the Capitol Police’s protection of Congress and the Capitol Building.” Separately Michael Bolton, the Capitol Police inspector general, told a House Administration Committee hearing that although the force 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 urged “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.” GAO’s report highlighted several deficiencies within the police force and its oversight board both in relation to Jan. 6 and in its general planning for security at the Capitol, including that planning for the Jan. 6 protests “did not reflect the potential for extreme violence aimed at the Capitol and did not include contingencies for support from other agencies.” The police received the assistance of about 2,000 personnel from other agencies on Jan. 6, but the police and its board “lacked clear, detailed procedures” on outside assistance, the report said.
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