U.S. Capitol Police is mandating that members of its Dignitary Protection Division get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or risk being reassigned.
In an internal memo from Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger, which was first obtained by CQ Roll Call, Dignitary Protection Division (DPD) agents, who protect congressional leaders like Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight On The Money — Senate Democrats lay out their tax plans Democrats haggle as deal comes into focus Dem hopes for infrastructure vote hit brick wall MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellManchin backs raising debt ceiling with reconciliation if GOP balks Biden needs to be both Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside Billionaire tax gains momentum MORE (R-Ky.), were ordered to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by Dec. 6.
“DPD Agents who refuse to be vaccinated will be reassigned to another organizational element within the Department,” Manger said in his memo, according to Roll Call. The order added that this measure was meant to “ensure the safety of the Department’s employees and Congressional protectees.”
The order also applies to agents who are temporarily assigned to the division. As Roll Call reported, it does not apply to officers who are not part of the division.
“The Dignitary Protection Division is the only division being required to get the vaccine, although everyone is being encouraged to get it,” a Capitol police spokesperson told The Hill in a statement. They did not specify how many members are in the division, due to security reasons, or say how many Capitol police officers are currently fully vaccinated.
“Agents with our Dignitary Protection Division are frequently in tight spaces with groups of people for extended periods of time,” Manger said in a statement provided to The Hill. “For their safety, and the safety of everyone around them, I am directing them to get the COVID-19 vaccine or they can chose to transfer to a different assignment.”
The Capitol Police spokesperson noted that many officers may have been vaccinated through their personal providers and they are not forced to disclose their vaccination status, adding that officers are provided with "an abundance" of personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, goggles and disinfecting wipes.