Capitol Police looking for a new chief

The Capitol Police Board has begun the process of searching for a new chief of police, the House sergeant at arms testified to the Senate Appropriations Legislative Branch Subcommittee yesterday.

“The Capitol Police Board has asked the department to begin to develop a concept for the search for a new chief of police. This concept is being developed as we speak,” Wilson Livingood said to subcommittee Chairman Wayne Allard (R-Colo.).

Livingood explained that as soon as the criteria and search concept are approved the selection process would take three to four months.

The board consists of the Architect of the Capitol and the House and Senate sergeants at arms.

He added that the search for an inspector general for the Capitol Police had been completed and interviews of candidates were to begin in the near future.

Funds for the position of the Capitol Police inspector general, who would have oversight authority over the police force, were allocated in the 2006 budget.

The hearing also marked the last day on the job for outgoing Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer, who retired last month amid allegations of nepotism. Allard, Livingood and Senate Sergeant at Arms William Pickle praised Gainer for his contributions during his two years of service.

“Chief Gainer is first and always a cop’s cop,” Livingood said. “Every person who works here or visits here is a beneficiary of his hard work, dedication and professionalism.”

Pickle said, “I just want to acknowledge on our part … how much we will miss him.”

“We often use the word leadership … and we always say you know leadership when you see it. Well, when you see Terry Gainer you see leadership,” he added

Allard echoed the sentiments: “The department is stronger, better trained and equipped, and more capable than when Chief Gainer took the helm two years ago.”

The Capitol Police requested $295.1 million for fiscal year 2007, an increase of $48.1 million, nearly 20 percent more than last year’s level.

During the hearing, Allard expressed concern about the requested increase to Acting Chief Christopher McGaffin. McGaffin told Allard that he is willing to work with him to pare down the budget where they think it is necessary.

In his testimony, McGaffin explained that the bulk of the request would be dedicated to current salaries and the addition of 91 officers, 10 employees for the Library of Congress and seven civilian support positions.

Several of the agency officials who testified cited preparation for the Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) as one of the reasons their budget requests had increased this fiscal year.

The Senate and House sergeant at arms requested $224 million collectively, a 12.5 percent increase over last year’s request.

Those offices also asked for 34 additional employees to support the CVC, in an effort to “augment their security team, expand services and meet new requirements for the Senate community.”

The Senate sergeant at arms is responsible for maintaining security on the Senate side of the Capitol, including the office buildings. It also provides technological support as well as mail, staff and financial services for the Senate. The House sergeant at arms provides similar services on his side of the Capitol complex.

Pickle informed Allard about his office’s efforts to comply with the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993, which would force legislative agencies to show tangible results and improvements in their programs. Data collected through the GPRA have been a factor in the evaluation of the executive branch’s annual appropriations requests.

Allard had indicated at last year’s budget hearings his desire to bring legislative-branch agencies under the executive-branch law.

“I know how important GPRA is to you, and I know how you hold each of the agencies under you accountable. We have been working on a strategic plan for the last six to nine months. … I think you will see the seriousness in which we have viewed this plan,” Pickle testified.

The Capitol Guide Serve and Congressional Special Services Office requested $8.5 million, an 8.8 percent increase over last year. The Guide Service and the Congressional Special Services provide a wide range of tour services to members of Congress and the public.