The United States Capitol Police (USCP) have been enhancing security and implementing a number of changes in its training, member protection, and response planning since the storming of the US Capitol by Donald Trump supporters.
The Department announced the updates in a press release on Tuesday.
“It has been six months since rioters attacked the United States Capitol and our brave police officers and law enforcement partners who fought valiantly to protect elected leaders and the democratic process,” said the release.
“We will never forget USCP Officers Brian Sicknick and Howie Liebengood, who died after the attack, nor the sacrifices of the nearly 150 law enforcement officers who were injured. Since that day, our team has been working with federal law enforcement agents to track down the suspects and bring them to justice. So far more than 500 defendants face charges,” it continued.
The USCP is introducing a number of improvements based on a series of reviews of the US Capitol attack by Senate committees, the USCP Office of the Inspector General, Government Accountability Office and more.
Among the improvements the Department has made since January 6 are expanded wellness services for officers, including trauma-focused counseling and spiritual support. The USCP is developing its own internal peer support program. Two wellness support dogs, Lila and Filip, are also part of the service. Lila’s inclusion in the team was announced in June.
Enhanced staffing and member protection within the Dignitary Protection Division is provided, and it is coordinated for enhanced security for members of Congress outside of the National Capitol Region.
Increased training at the Civil Disturbance Unit includes joint training with the National Guard, riot training, shoot/don’t shoot scenarios, and less-than-lethal exercises, according to the statement. “The Department is also increasing its use of force, tactical, equipment, leadership, and incident command training. The USCP sent officials to attend CDU training in Seattle and Virginia Beach.”
USCP has a new “critical incident response planning” which paves the way for a multi-phased action plan that mobilizes local, state and federal authorities to assist the Department in emergencies. USCP is also working “to obtain the authority to immediately request National Guard assistance if needed without having to wait for board approval.”
USCP’s information and intelligence sharing with sworn officers internally has vastly increased.
In addition, there is a new recruitment effort that involves the force’s social media platforms, as well as traditional media.
In the wake of the January 6 breach of the US Capitol, the DC Police Union criticized the US Capitol Police leadership for its handling of the incident, saying it was “ill-prepared” both in resources and in manpower.