WASHINGTON – U.S. Capitol Police announced on Tuesday that the agency is opening regional offices in California and Florida to investigate threats against members of Congress following the Jan.6 attack on the Capitol.
Threats against members of Congress have increased in recent years. On Tuesday, the total number of threats so far in 2021 was double what it was a year ago, Capitol Police said.
Home to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., And other prominent members of Congress, California donates to the agency law enforcement a western base to investigate allegations of threats made against members. The state is also home to the largest congressional delegation in the country.
Yogananda Pittman, the department’s acting head, told lawmakers in March that the vast majority of the increased threats came from people who did not live near Washington.
Field offices will be located in the Tampa and San Francisco areas, according to Capitol Police.
“Right now, Florida and California are where the majority of our potential threats are,” a department spokesperson said in a statement. “The field offices will be the first for the department. A regional approach to investigating and prosecuting threats against members is important, so we will be working closely with the US prosecutor’s offices in these locations. “
The new field offices are among the changes made since the attack six months ago in which Capitol Police were quickly overwhelmed by thousands of pro-Trump supporters, hundreds of whom were able to break into the Capitol building, forcing members to temporarily suspend certification of the 2020 Election Results and flee for safety. Capitol Police officials told congressional committees investigating the incident that they had no information the crowd was turning violent.
Five people died in the melee or the following days. Two officers died by suicide and more than 140 were injured, some permanently. More than 500 people have been charged with participating in the attack.
Other changes, spurred in part by Congressional investigations and reports from the department’s internal watchdog, include increased officer training alongside the National Guard, improved intelligence-gathering efforts and protocols for communication. sensitive information, as well as new equipment and technologies for officers.
The police department rarely provides information to the public on how it operates, citing concerns about the safety and the safety of members. For example, unlike other government agencies, internal watchdog reports are not publicly available.
A spokesperson did not respond to questions on Tuesday about the number of employees that would be hired or the cost to taxpayers.
The spokesperson said more regional offices were expected.
Very few members of Congress are escorted to security outside the Capitol building, and it is unclear whether the new offices will primarily investigate threats to members or also assist when security is needed in the state. . Capitol Police have jurisdiction to investigate all threats made against a member of Congress.