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Capitol security task force recommends police reforms: report

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A security review ordered by Congress in the wake of the riot on the US Capitol recommends a “quick reaction force” of federal law enforcement officers or members of the National Guard at the seat-of-government, according to a report.

Suggested improvements also reportedly include US Capitol Police reforms, an increased National Guard presence and new mobile fencing units that could be quickly erected and taken down during a future crisis, according to a draft copy of the task force’s recommendations obtained by Fox News.

The findings were reportedly unveiled by retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, who was tapped to lead a security review by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Jan. 15.

The reaction force would be manned day and night to the tune of between $40 and $130 million per year.

“[W]e recommend establishment of a robust, dedicated QRF, not only for the USCP, but to serve the nation’s capital writ large,” the report from Task Force 1-6 said, according to Fox News.

Members of the National Guard walk through a security fence surrounding the U.S. Capitol Building on March 4, 2021.
Members of the National Guard walk through a security fence surrounding the U.S. Capitol Building on March 4, 2021.
Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The report also recommended the hiring of 900 additional Capitol Police officers. The department, which the report described as “understaffed, insufficiently equipped, and inadequately trained,” currently has 200 vacant positions, and officers billed about 720,000 overtime hours in the last fiscal year, Fox reported.

“Not only is this model unsustainable, it leaves the force with no ability to pull officers from the line to train,” a copy of the report stated.

The task force found that Capitol Police were too slow to respond to the January crisis, but noted that there was no indication that requests for National Guard assistance had been slowed for political reasons.

“The [Capitol Police Board’s] deliberate decision-making process proved too slow and cumbersome to respond to the crisis in January, delaying requests for critical supplemental resources,” the task force concluded. “Specifically, the USCP Chief should not require CPB approval to request assistance from external agencies or the National Guard in an emergency,” the report read.

Honoré — who led the Hurricane Katrina Joint Task Force — has been accused by Republicans of not conducting his report in a bipartisan manner. He has claimed that the USCP force contained many “Trumpsters,” who “allowed their buddies in” to the Capitol, and suggested the House and Senate sergeants-at-arms were “complicit” in the riot, according to the Fox News report.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré  was tapped to lead a security review by Nancy Pelosi.
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré was tapped to lead a security review by Nancy Pelosi.
PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images

“Although we are grateful for his service to our country, [Lt. Gen.] Honoré has made many comments critical of U.S. Capitol Police officers and certain Members of Congress — statements that call into question the supposed impartiality of his review,” a group of House Republicans wrote in a letter to Pelosi on Tuesday.

The news comes a day after Capitol Police increased security to thwart a potential attack by “an identified militia group.”

Conspiratorial QAnon supporters had claimed that former President Trump would be sworn in again on Thursday. The March 4 date passed without incident.

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