The United States Capitol Police are opening regional offices in California and Florida to better protect members in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot in Washington, D.C., the agency announced Tuesday.
“The USCP has enhanced our staffing within our Dignitary Protection Division as well as coordinated for enhanced security for members of Congress outside of the National Capitol Region,” Acting USCP Chief Yogananda Pittman said in a press release from the agency Tuesday. “The department is also in the process of opening Regional Field Offices in California and Florida with additional regions in the near future to investigate threats to members of Congress.”
The move is one of several steps the agency is implementing following the riot at the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6 where several hundred people stormed the building as a joint session of Congress was officially tallying Electoral College votes from the 2020 presidential election.
Five people died as a result including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick and civilian Ashli Babbitt, and another 150 Capitol Police officers were injured.
Sicknick suffered two strokes following the riot and died at a local hospital shortly after, while Babbitt was shot by a yet unidentified Capitol Police officer inside the building.
The other deaths were attributed to natural causes, including one drug overdose, the District’s Medical Examiner reported.
Three days later, Capitol Police officer Howie Liebengood took his own life as a "direct result of the trauma and strain from the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and the around-the-clock shifts in the subsequent days," the family told Newsweek in May.
According to the press release Tuesday, more than 500 people have been charged so far in the riot.
“Throughout the last six months, the United States Capitol Police has been working around the clock with our Congressional stakeholders to support our officers, enhance security around the Capitol Complex, and pivot towards an intelligence-based protective agency,” Pittman said in the release.
The agency dates to 1800 when the nation’s capital moved from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., formally founding the organization in 1828 with a mission to protect members of the legislature and the federal building, according to the organization.
In addition to the new offices, the agency is expanding wellness services, bringing in organizations that specialize in psychological trauma and stress as it develops its own in-house peer support teams, increased training with the National Guard to deal with civil disturbances and increasing its use of force, tactical, equipment, leadership, and incident command.
Other areas the organization plan to address include communications, recruitment, and its equipment and technology.
“Those are just some of the improvements the United States Capitol Police is making, with the support of our Congressional stakeholders, in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack,” Pittman said. “We honor all the brave men and women who, against all odds, faced down a violent crowd that day and protected our elected leaders and everyone who was in the Capitol Complex. We will never forget their bravery and will continue to work in their honor.”
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