US Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger warned lawmakers Wednesday that his force is approximately 450 officers short of the number it needs to be considered fully staffed.
Manger testified before the Senate Rules Committee ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 riot by Trump supporters, which the chief said “exposed critical departmental failures and deficiencies with operational planning, intelligence, staffing, training and equipment.”
Manger also told senators that the department intends to hire 280 officers in each of the next three years in order to “get us ahead of attrition and my hope is that will get us to where we need to be in terms of staffing.”
“Over the past year, 153 officers either retired or resigned from the department,” he said. “We have 175 on any given day on some type of leave. Many of those are out due to COVID, and so basically, we are … 447 short.”
Despite the lack of bodies, Manger said he believes his force is better prepared to handle an event like the Jan. 6 riot than it was last year, noting the department has ramped up its training efforts and bolstered its coordination and communication strategies to share intelligence with other law enforcement agencies.
“With a few phone calls, I could get double or triple the number of police officers we had [on Jan. 6] — trained, equipped police officers — here to assist us in our responsibilities to protect the Capitol and the members of Congress,” the chief said before warning: “We will be tested again … I do not know who it will be or what or when it will be, but we will likely be tested.”
During the hearing, committee chair Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) raised the growing number of threats to members of Congress, noting that lawmakers had received “over 9,000 threats in 2021 alone, an astounding number against 500-some people.”
Manger responded that keeping abreast of such threats was “the biggest challenge, I think, we have.”
“We have doubled the number of officers that investigate these threats, agents that investigate these threats,” he said, “and if they continue to go up the way they have, clearly we’re going to need additional officers to assign to this responsibility.”
More than 100 police officers were injured in the riot, and a report by the Capitol Police inspector general later found that more than three-quarters of officers were forced to face off against armed rioters in their regular uniforms.
Reflecting on that day, Manger said he was “horrified by what I saw” while watching TV coverage of the riot.
“I saw police officers being assaulted, and that is the reason I’m sitting here today,” he said, “because I wanted to do what I could to help this police department and to better protect out nation and the Capitol and what this Capitol represents.”