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US Capitol Police has made a fraction of recommended changes since January 6, internal watchdog says

By Whitney Wild

Only about one-quarter of recommended changes to US Capitol Police following the January 6 riot have been implemented, department Inspector General Michael Bolton told a Senate committee Tuesday.

Bolton said that out of 104 recommendations he made to the department, only 30 have been implemented so far. Further, Bolton says he hasn’t met with the new Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger since their initial meeting in August, citing the chief’s busy schedule.

“The Department still lacks the overall training infrastructure to meet the needs of the Department, the level of Intelligence gathering and expertise needed, and an overall cultural change needed to move the department into a protective agency as opposed to a traditional Police Department,” Bolton told lawmakers in written testimony.

Bolton also said the department has not made many of the 200 security enhancements it said it would.

Bolton’s testimony to the Senate Rules and Administration Committee comes as the department has seen a higher-than-usual number of officers leave and is asking the Capitol Police Board for contract security officers to alleviate an exhausted force.

“We have proposed this to the Capitol Police Board as a temporary option to allow our officers to spend more time with their loved ones and to provide them time for additional training,” a spokesperson for Capitol Police told CNN.

Bolton said on Tuesday that about 200 officers have retired or left the department this year. Roughly 130 officers have left since January 1, the agency said.

The department typically sees up to 90 departures per year, according to a congressional source. The department has said the high rate of departures mirrors into a nationwide trend of officers leaving police departments.

Bolton said the number of officers is down “significantly.”

“And they need to be able to bring at least folks on that can augment them,” Bolton said. “Even if you hire someone today, you’re talking over a year to get them on post.”

A number of increasing demands are taxing the department’s workforce as they continue to implement changes after the Capitol insurrection on January 6.

The department is responding to a rise in threats to members of Congress, and the congressional source noted the department is also changing operations to more often deploy specialized units such as the department’s Civil Disturbance Unit, which pushes up overtime for officers.

Congressional security forces have used contract security before to manage security areas outside chambers, the source said.

The department has added at least five classes of recruits since January 6.

In a statement, the Capitol Police said it “agrees with the Inspector General that the Department must continue to improve and expand its intelligence and protective capabilities. This is vital for carrying out our critical mission.”

“Training is a top priority. We are working diligently to address staffing shortages in order to provide officers more time for additional training,” the statement adds.

This story has been updated with additional details.

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