(HorizonPost.com) – The Capitol police department is to become a nationwide force. The department, which polices Washington, DC, will become a “protective-oriented agency” with a focus on protecting lawmakers across America. J. Thomas Manger, the chief of Capitol police, announced the new plans in Congress recently. He also asked for a 14% funding increase. If the increase is granted, the department’s budget will rise to more than $840 million.
Manger said that a rise in attacks on Congress members had prompted the need for a nationwide force. Such attacks include an assault on Rep. Angie Craig of Minnesota at her apartment in Washington in February. A man, who appeared intoxicated, grabbed the Democrat by the neck and punched her as she used an elevator to leave her building. Police say there was no indication that the Representative was attacked because of her political views.
More recently, a man with a baseball bat entered the offices of Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly in Fairfax, Virginia. He struck two members of staff with the bat. Xuan Kha Tran Pham was arrested immediately after the incident. Congressman Connolly later stated that he did not know if the attacker’s motivation was political but added that the current “toxic” environment made increased violence more likely. “I would just hope all of us would take a little more time to be careful about what we say and how we say it,” he added.
Severe attacks in recent years include a break-in at the home of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the shooting of Gabby Giffords in Arizona in 2011 and Steve Scalise in 2017.
Chief Manger says violence against Congress members has risen by 400% in the past six years. “We are on pace again this year to receive approximately 9,000 threat assessment cases,” he added. The chief addressed the riots of January 6th, 2021, and stated that his department had improved since that day. This includes more training in handling civil disturbances and communications enhancements.
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