Lawmakers grill Capitol Police chief over security lapses

Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine promised major reforms Wednesday after recent security lapses that have his agency embroiled in controversy.

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle grilled the police chief over a gyrocopter that landed on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol as well as several incidents where police officers forgot their guns in public bathrooms.

The police chief said his agency is still investigating the officers who left their guns unattended, and suggested they may be demoted, in the wake of toilet gate.


"Obviously, while these acts were not done on purposes, they are unacceptable,” Dine told lawmakers during a hearing. "One cannot leave your weapon anywhere. It has to be secured at all times. So those acts will be dealt with firmly and effectively."

A groundbreaking report earlier this month from Roll Call found that Capitol Police officers left their guns unattended in public bathrooms on three separate occasions. 

Two of the officers were assigned to the protective detail for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGraham calls on Schumer to hold vote to dismiss article of impeachment against Trump Rove: Chances of conviction rise if Giuliani represents Trump in Senate impeachment trial Boebert communications director resigns amid Capitol riot: report MORE and House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerCan the GOP break its addiction to show biz? House conservatives plot to oust Liz Cheney Ex-Speaker Boehner after Capitol violence: 'The GOP must awaken' MORE.

The police chief said his agency is stepping up gun safety training since the incident, so police officers can better keep track of their weapons when nature calls.

“We’re providing additional training for what to do when you have to go to the bathroom,” Dine said.

House Administration Chairwoman Candice Miller (R-Mich.) called it a “serious breach” during the hearing.


"These are very serious breaches that alarm all of us,” Miller said. "When you are an open public environment when literally millions of visitors each year, securing your weapon is of primary importance.”

The police chief also provided more details about the controversial gyrocopter landing in April.

The pilot reached out to a Florida newspaper in advance of the flight, which in turned informed the Capitol Police about it a half hour before the landing, but the agency didn’t know when the landing was happening, Dine said.

Capitol Police also received a live stream of the flight in advance, Dine admitted.

“We attempted to tune in,” he said. “We had no luck immediately.”

The gyrocopter pilot had been investigated by Secret Service and Capitol Police a few years ago over a similar threat, Dine said. 

"At that time, he was deemed to not be a threat,” he said.