Capitol Police Hires Former Top Brass to Reshape Department After Riot

The U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) has hired two former leaders to assist in reshaping the force following the January 6 insurrection.

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The department announced Tuesday that Dan Nichols and Phil Morse would be returning as consultants to help as the USCP continues to evolve following the Capitol riot. The two have a combined 55 years of experience with the police force, and leading it through changes after 9/11 and the 2001 anthrax attacks.

Nichols served as the assistant chief of police from 2007 until his retirement in 2011. Morse was appointed chief of police in 2006 and served in the leadership role until he retired from USCP in 2012.

“We believe this team’s institutional knowledge will build upon our current plan to improve our Department operations,” said acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman. “At the same time, we will continue to move forward along our new path towards an intelligence based protective agency.”

The changes to USCP come after a mob of pro-Donald Trump supporters breached the Capitol building on January 6, as lawmakers were certifying Joe Biden‘s victory in the 2020 presidential election.

Five people died during or shortly after the attack, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. Sicknick, who collapsed in his office after being injured while physically engaging with protesters, suffered two strokes.

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Two Capitol Police officers who helped fight back the mob later died by suicide. They were identified as Howard Liebengood, 51, and Jeffrey Smith, 35.

A U.S. Capitol Police patrol car drives past the fence perimeter on the east side of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. The U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) has hired two former leaders to assist in reshaping the force following the January 6 insurrection.
Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

A recent report from the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs concluded that intelligence and security failures contributed to the Capitol riot. The report found USCP leaders were aware of the threats but failed to adequately prepare to act on them.

The report laid out more than a dozen recommendations for USCP and its board, including changes to officer training, clarification of statutes governing emergency assistance, and streamlining their intelligence gathering.

USCP responded by acknowledging it “must improve how it collects and shares intelligence with its own officers and stakeholders and has made significant changes since the attack on January 6.”

“The Department has also made major changes to its now Department-wide operations planning processes, even recently bringing on a National Special Security Event planning and coordination expert from the United States Secret Service,” USCP added.

But the department maintained that the information they had available didn’t indicate a large-scale attack on the Capitol.

“Neither the USCP, nor the FBI, U.S. Secret Service, Metropolitan Police or our other law enforcement partners knew thousands of rioters were planning to attack the U.S. Capitol. The known intelligence simply didn’t support that conclusion,” the department said in the statement.

Newsweek reached out to USCP for additional comment, but didn’t receive a response before publication.

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