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6 months after Jan. 6 riot, Capitol police outline reforms that've been implemented

Electoral College Protests
Posted at 9:59 AM, Jul 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-06 13:01:22-04

Tuesday marks six months since the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by rioters supporting former President Donald Trump.

Five people died before, during, or after the riot, including two U.S Capitol Police officers, Brian Sicknick and Howie Liebengood.

Nearly 150 other law enforcement officers were injured when attempting to stop the rioters from storming the building as Congress worked to certify the Electoral College vote count to formalize President Joe Biden’s victory.

As of Tuesday, authorities say they've charged more than 500 people in connection with the riot and they're continuing to search for others who took part.

Since the insurrection, the U.S. Capitol Police say they’ve implemented reforms to their department to support their officers, enhance security around the Capitol Complex, and pivot toward an intelligence-based protective agency.

The U.S. Capitol Police say they've been working with Congress and organizations specializing in addressing psychological trauma to expand wellness services for its officers. The department is also developing an internal peer support program, as well as bringing in support dogs.

The department says its civil disturbance unit has increased its training to include joint training with the National Guard, riot training, shoot/don’t shoot scenarios, and less-than-lethal exercises. The department is also increasing its use of force, tactical, equipment, leadership, and incident command training.

The department has solidified a new critical incident response plan, which establishes a multi-phased action plan to quickly mobilize local, state, and federal manpower, including the Department of Defense, to respond to planned and/or no-notice emergencies. It’s also working with congressional oversight to obtain the authority to immediately request National Guard assistance if needed without having to wait for board approval.

The department has also improved its equipment and technology, acquiring additional helmets, shields and less-than-lethal munitions, and has ordered more batons. Through a loan from the Department of Defense, the department will have access to state-of-the-art campus surveillance technology, which will enhance the ability to detect and monitor threat activity.

The department says it has also launched a new recruitment effort, which includes the use of its social media platforms and traditional media.

“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 January 6 attack,” wrote the U.S. Capitol Police. “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.”

Along with the U.S. Capitol Police reforms, the U.S. House is forming a bipartisan select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 riot. The committee will have subpoena power and will not be given a strict deadline for its findings. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming will be the only Republican serving on the committee.