Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman called Thursday for major upgrades to security at the Capitol complex, including the installation of “permanent fencing” following that unprecedented breach that occurred during the Jan. 6 riot.
Pittman, who became acting chief on Jan. 8, said Capitol police have “hardened the physical security” at the complex in recent days order to protect lawmakers. However, she called for additional measures to be taken, including fencing and an increase in available security personnel, to safeguard the Capitol from future incidents.
“In light of recent events, I can unequivocally say that vast improvements to the physical security infrastructure must be made to include permanent fencing, and the availability of ready, back-up forces in close proximity to the Capitol,” Pittman said. “I look forward to working with Congress on identifying the security improvements necessary to ensure the safety and security of the Congress and the U.S. Capitol.”
Pro-Trump rioters bypassed barriers, broke windows and surged past security to enter the Capitol complex as lawmakers met to certify President Biden’s election victory. The incident marked the most significant breach of a government institution since the War of 1812 and prompted bipartisan criticism from lawmakers who demanded answers as to how existing security failed to contain the crowds.
Pittman’s predecessor, Steven Sund, resigned as Capitol police chief within days of the riot. The acting chief formally apologized for the security failure during a House briefing on Tuesday.
Earlier this month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tapped retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré to conduct a review of security at the Capitol complex. Several other reviews, both internal and external, are also underway.
“I welcome each of these reviews, and I am ensuring that the Department will provide all of the information that is necessary to facilitate these studies,” Pittman added. “In the end, we all have the same goal — to prevent what occurred on January 6 from ever happening again.”
Federal authorities have made dozens of arrests in states around the country of individuals found to have participated in the riot.
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