Washington, D.C. (Washington Insider Magazine) Since the January 6 insurrection, over 70 U.S. Capitol Police Officers have resigned from the police force. The union is now saying that the supplemental package for funding – gaged at $1.9 billion – is not going to be sufficient if more police leave the force.
On Thursday, the emergency funding was voted in by the House Democrats. It passed by slim margins and was “complicated by opposition from GOP lawmakers and a last-minute curveball from a cohort of liberals.”
Capitol Police union chairman, Gus Papathanasiou, said that Capitol Police are feeling “demoralized and looking for a way out.” They are being asked to work longer hours and are not told – nor does the Capitol know – for how long. The January 6 riot was traumatic, and there has been an incident in April as well that has left the officers feeling unsure.
Papathanasiou said on Thursday, “What keeps me awake at night is not the challenge of hiring and training more police officers but keeping the officers we have right now. We have many officers on the fence about whether to stay with this department.”
With the spending bill, it would “authorize back pay for overtime hours, hazard pay, and retention bonuses.” In addition to this, more equipment would be needed. For a long time, the Capitol Police have been understaffed, and there is a need for better training.
Also needed is a “long-term crisis planning” organization which would include “the creation of a quick-reaction team akin to a standing unit of D.C. National Guard.”
Papathanasiou commented that he was glad for the “enhancements to the Capitol Police” but they would need help with “the attrition problem the force is facing.” Similar jobs can be found in the workforce “that pay better or offer a less demanding work schedule.” Also, many of the officers are due to retire in the upcoming years.
The union is concerned since it would take a long time to hire additional officers since the requirements are high and there is normally a small recruiting class.
Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, the top Democrat on the subcommittee that funds the force, said on Thursday, “We’ve got to let the Capitol Police know that we understand what they’re going through.”