Capitol Police need new authority to seek National Guard aid: ex-chief
Ex-Capitol Police Steven Sund told Congress on Tuesday that significant reforms are needed to grant future police chiefs the authority to directly request aid from the National Guard when there is an imminent threat to the Capitol.
“I think in exigent circumstances there needs to be a streamlined process for the Capitol Police chief, for Capitol Police, to have authority,” Sund told senators at a hearing looking into the security failures of the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Under the current chain of command structure, the police chief must first ask the Capitol Police Board — comprised of the House and Senate sergeants-at-arms and the Architect of the Capitol — to declare an emergency and then approve a formal request for the National Guard.
Sund testified Tuesday that he went to the two sergeants-at-arms on Jan. 4, two days before the insurrection, and requested assistance from the National Guard but was rebuffed. And National Guard troops didn’t deploy to the Capitol on Jan. 6 until several hours after the attack was already underway. Five people died, including a Capitol Police officer.
“Your testimony makes clear that the current structure of the Capitol Police Board resulted in delays in bringing in assistance from the National Guard,” Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) told Sund.
Former House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving and former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger also testified at the hearing that a review of the Capitol Police Board was needed following the attack.
All three security officials resigned after the breach of the Capitol.
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