More than 70 officers have left the U.S. Capitol Police since the Jan. 6 insurrection, according to the department’s union, which said that a $1.9 billion supplemental funding package will not be enough to keep other officers from departing.
Capitol Police union chair Gus Papathanasiou said that officers are demoralized after the riot and that the $1.9 billion package that passed the House this week is insufficient, noting that nearly a quarter of the department’s officers are eligible to retire “in the next few years.”
He added that he also knows “of many younger officers who have confided that they’re considering applying to other law enforcement agencies.”
“What keeps me awake at night is not the challenge of hiring and training more police officers, but keeping the officers we have right now. We have many officers on the fence about whether to stay with this department. Since January 6th we’ve had more than 70 officers retire or resign from the department,” he said.
The spending bill, which passed by a single vote in the House on Thursday, does include back pay for overtime hours, hazard pay and retention bonuses as well as broader access to equipment and expanded training for officers.
It also calls for the creation of a quick-reaction team that would be able to respond rapidly to events like the Jan. 6 riot as well as a range of security upgrades to the Capitol complex.
“The Emergency Security Supplemental does include much needed funding for retention bonuses, hazard pay, trauma support, additional equipment, physical infrastructure upgrades and tuition reimbursement,” said Papathanasiou. “It is a good first step.”
The state of the Capitol Police has been thrust to the forefront in Congress following the insurrection. Officer Brian Sicknick died the day after the riot after engaging with the mob, and Officer Howard Liebengood died by suicide days after.
Another officer was killed in April when a suspect rammed his car into a roadblock at the Capitol.
This article was originally published by the Hill. Read the original article.
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