13 C
London
Wednesday, October 5, 2022
HomeEconomyBiden Signs Bill Letting Capitol Police Chief Call In National Guard

Biden Signs Bill Letting Capitol Police Chief Call In National Guard

- Advertisement -

Topline

President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed a bill into law that will allow the U.S. Capitol Police chief to unilaterally call in the National Guard for assistance, after a review of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack found the lack of authority was a key factor in the Capitol Police force being overwhelmed by a Trump-supporting mob.

Tear gas is fired at supporters of then President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021 in Washington. … [+] (Photo by Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The Washington Post via Getty Images

Key Facts

The bipartisan bill, called the “Capitol Police Emergency Assistance Act,” passed both the House and Senate by unanimous consent, meaning no member of Congress voiced opposition.

Under existing policy, the Capitol Police chief was required to seek approval from a four-member board that oversees the police force to get National Guard assistance.

A June report on the January 6 attack found security failures “clearly demonstrated the need for the Chief of the U.S. Capitol Police to have more unilateral flexibility to quickly request assistance in an emergency.”

More than 100 police officers were injured in the line of duty on January 6, while 42-year-old Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick died from strokes after clashing with protesters, and four other officers committed suicide.

Crucial Quote

“I have long been concerned that the structure of the Capitol Police Board creates unnecessary delays when swift, decisive action is needed,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said in a statement. “This bipartisan bill addresses a major security challenge that was evident on January 6th, and is part of our ongoing effort to strengthen Capitol security moving forward.”

Key Background

Reviews of the Capitol Police force determined it was significantly understaffed both when it came to preparing for the attack and its response when Trump-supporting rioters started storming the Capitol. A March report from retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore recommended the approximately 2,000-member Capitol Police force hire more than 850 new officers, including more than 400 devoted to intelligence gathering after significant failures leading up to January 6. Rioters had openly planned the attack online—some went so far as to print t-shirts emblazoned with the words: “Civil War January 6, 2021.” 

Tangent

The president also has authority to call in the National Guard, but troops did not arrive at the Capitol until hours after then President Donald Trump’s supporters breached the building. It remains unclear exactly what caused the delay, though Trump claimed he “immediately” ordered the National Guard to “expel the intruders” on January 6.

Surprising Fact

Michael Bolton, Capitol Police inspector general, told a Senate committee earlier this month that only 61 of 200 security enhancements his office has recommended for Capitol Police have been enacted. He also said about 10% of the police force have left their jobs this year.

Further Reading

Congress votes to let Capitol Police chief directly call on National Guard, law enforcement after Jan. 6 riot (Washington Post)

Officer Sicknick Died From Strokes After Capitol Riots, Medical Examiner Finds (Forbes)

‘Leadership Betrayed Our Mission’: Capitol Police Union Blasts ‘Unconscionable’ Failures Leaving Officers Unprepared For Jan. 6 Attack (Forbes)

Capitol Police Crisis: 200 Have Left And Less Than Half Of Post-Jan. 6 Security Recommendations Have Been Made, Official Says (Forbes)

Read More

Advertisement