The U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) Inspector General Michael Bolton testified to lawmakers on his detailed report finding that there were glaring security failures within the department, and that major changes need to be put in place.
Following the January 6 Capitol riots that left several dead and many wounded, Bolton has issued confidential monthly reports, amounting to a 104-page dossier, that detail many of the failures that led to a breakdown in the Capitol’s security on January 6.
The report found that the USCP’s inadequate training, outdated weaponry and poor intelligence gathering and operational planning were most to blame. In addition, Bolton found that the agency’s operational attitude needs to be reexamined.
According to the AP, Bolton told the House Administration Committee that in order to deal with future threats, the force will need to change its mission-attitude to be more proactive rather than reactive.
“A police department is geared to be a reactive force, for the most part,” Bolton said. “Whereas a protective agency is postured, in their training and planning, to be proactive to prevent events such as January 6th.”
Lawmakers agreed during the hearing that improvements to the force need to be made.
Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren said the department needs to be stronger and more effective “not just to keep the Capitol and those work here safer, but to keep the men and women who wear its uniform safe.”
In the report, Bolton found that the department’s equipment was old and stored badly, officers had not completed the required training, and there was overall a lack of direction, training, and leadership at the Civil Disturbance Unit – a unit that exists to ensure that actions of Congress are not disrupted by civil unrest.
It was found that the equipment used by the USCP was largely outdated and “substandard.” Much of the munitions were expired; the tear gas and other non-lethal munitions were so old that officers felt uncomfortable using them, and officers were even directed by leadership not to use them to disperse the crowd, according to NPR.
The report also found that intelligence was mishandled prior to the event, including a memo from the FBI sent the day before that warned of threatening online posts by Trump supporters that was not seen by former USCP Chief Steven Sund.
“We had information. We didn’t act on the information. We didn’t prepare properly. We had been lulled to sleep for decades about this never happening,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.
In a statement, the USCP said that they had already made some of the recommended improvements, and that the siege was “a pivotal moment” in history that showed the need for “major changes” in how the department operates.
The report also requested more resources and funding from Congress. House lawmakers intend to propose spending legislation later this month that could provide more resources to the department.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the money would not only go to “hardening” the Capitol’s windows and doors but also to hiring and training officers.
Bolton also emphasized the need for better training.
“If you want to invest dollars, that’s the place to invest in, training. Training deficiencies put officers, our brave men and women, in a position not to succeed,” he said.
The U.S. Capitol Police Labor Committee agreed with the report’s findings, and took the opportunity to condemn leadership.
“It’s clear our leaders did not have a clear plan to identify threats before January 6th, nor did they provide the training, equipment, communication or guidance that officers needed to defend the Capitol that day,” Chairman Gus Papathanasiou said in a statement.
“Our leaders failed in their basic duty to capably receive and act on intelligence reports of pending threats. No wonder officers were blindsided by the violent attacks of that day.”