WASHINGTON – U.S. Capitol Police should expand staffing, focus on intelligence gathering and coordinate better with the National Guard to prevent another attack like the riot Jan. 6, according to a security review headed by retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré presented to House members Monday.
The House and Senate will have to consider which recommendations to adopt and how to fund them. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who asked Honoré to lead the review, called the report a draft that will require additional funding.
Recommendations in the 15-page report include:
• Better funding for Capitol Police, a force of about 2,000 officers that has 233 vacancies and spent 55% of its overtime for the year during the first five months of the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. The report recommends creating 854 more jobs, including 350 to reduce overtime and 424 to cover duties such as intelligence gathering,
• Hastening the ability of the Capitol Police chief to request support from other law enforcement agencies or the National Guard, which requires a cumbersome process with the Capitol Police Board. Hours-long delays in requesting the Guard occurred Jan. 6.
• Adopting mobile fencing around the Capitol, which would be easily erected and removed during emergencies. Rioters on Jan. 6 quickly overran metal barricades officers stood behind.
• Allowing leaders to bypass cluttered radio channels to communicate without interruption. The report recommends that officers wear body cameras, as District of Columbia Metropolitan Police do.
• Immediately enhancing security for lawmakers in their district offices and homes.
• Considering the use of more bomb-sniffing dogs and perhaps a resumption of horse patrols, which were discontinued in 2005.
"The USCP were understaffed, insufficiently equipped, and inadequately trained to secure the Capitol and Members when violently attacked by a large mob," the report says.
The U.S. Capitol Police issued a statement Monday saying the agency would review the recommendations.
"We believe enhancements to the Capitol complex’s physical infrastructure are required. We also agree we need to increase our manpower and overall response capabilities," the statement said. "The department will continue to work with our congressional stakeholders and law enforcement partners as we strengthen our security measures at the Capitol.
During the insurrection Jan. 6, rioters stormed through the Capitol, vandalized offices and delayed the counting of Electoral College votes. About 140 police officers were injured in the attack, including Brian Sicknick, who died from his injuries the next day.
The 16-member review team included former Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer; Maj. Gen. Errol Schwartz, commander of the D.C. National Guard; retired Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan; and retired Army Lt. Gen. Karen Gibson, the new Senate sergeant-at-arms.
Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., a member of the Appropriations Committee that decides how much the federal government should spend, said the presentation offered a menu of options that lawmakers will have to compare. He expects to act on extra spending without waiting for the annual appropriations bills.
“I think that the recommendations would indicate that we should act on a security supplemental sooner rather than later,” he said.
Kevin McCarthy: Pelosi wants to turn 'Capitol into a fortress'
Pelosi said lawmakers would have to review the recommendations and determine how much to spend. Some recommendations, such as the extent of fencing around the building, will be contentious.
“It's going to take more money to protect the Capitol in a way that enables people to come here, children to come and see our democracy in action,” Pelosi said Thursday.
Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., a member of the Budget Committee, said the plan was comprehensive, including short-term and long-term recommendations.
“Being able to maintain public access is a cornerstone of our democracy,” Horsford said.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., accused Honoré of "notorious partisan bias" and questioned why Pelosi appointed him.
"It’s possible that the Speaker desired a certain result: turning the Capitol into a fortress," McCarthy said Sunday in a statement.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Honoré's Capitol riot review calls for more police, National Guard