Capitol Police Chief Calls For Permanent Security Fencing Around Capitol

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Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman said in a Thursday statement that permanent security fencing should be installed around the Capitol following the Jan. 6 riot.

“In the days following January 6, 2021, with the assistance of our Federal and local law enforcement partners, and our Congressional stakeholders, the United States Capitol Police (USCP) has hardened the physical security across the Capitol Complex in order to further protect the Congress,” Pittman said.

Pittman, who became police chief Jan. 8, said that she directed her staff to do an assessment on the security around the Capitol immediately after she assumed her position.

“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.” (RELATED: REPORT: US Capitol Police Union Criticize Leadership For Lack of Preparation Ahead Of Capitol Riots)

A permanent security fence was recommended after a 2006 inspection of security around the Capitol, Pittman noted.

“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,” she said.

Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Thursday that the fencing would not be permanent.

“Based on conversations with federal partners, there are some potentially volatile events upcoming that will require extra security,” Bowser said on Twitter. “Fencing and the presence of troops will be a part of that. But we will not accept extra troops or permanent fencing as a long-term fixture in DC.”

“When the time is right, the fencing around the White House and U.S. Capitol, just like the plywood we’ve seen on our businesses for too long, will be taken down,” she added. “We look forward to working with Congresswoman Norton on not only ensuring continued public access to the Capitol, but also preventing any proposed security installations from intruding into our local neighborhoods.”

Capitol Police faced criticism after the Jan. 6 riot in Washington, D.C., when a mob of Trump supporters were able to breach security and enter the Capitol building. Lawmakers were forced to evacuate during the certification of the Electoral College votes.

Pittman apologized Tuesday for USCP’s “failings” during the riot.

“On January 6, in the face of a terrorist attack by tens and thousands of insurrectionists determined to stop the certification of the Electoral College votes, the Department failed to meet its own high standards as well as yours,” the police chief told House Appropriations Committee according to prepared remarks obtained by the New York Times.

“We fully expect to answer to you and the American people for our failings on January 6,” she told the committee, which oversees the police department’s funding. “I am here to offer my sincerest apologies on behalf of the department.”