The U.S. Capitol Police is establishing field offices in California and Florida to investigate threats against lawmakers, the agency announced on Tuesday. The agency’s move to establish a larger national presence comes in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot on the Capitol.
The USCP said in a statement that establishing the offices is part of a broader security plan to improve its security measures following the riot, when hundreds of people stormed the Capitol Building.
“The USCP has enhanced our staffing within our Dignitary Protection Division as well as coordinated for enhanced security for Members of Congress outside of the National Capitol Region,” the USCP said. “The Department is also in the process of opening Regional Field Offices in California and Florida with additional regions in the near future to investigate threats to Members of Congress.”
According to the agency, the USCP has been working with federal law enforcement agents to track down suspects involved in the riot, arresting more than 500 people so far.
“Throughout the last six months, the United States Capitol Police has been working around the clock with our Congressional stakeholders to support our officers, enhance security around the Capitol Complex, and pivot towards an intelligence-based protective agency,” reads the statement.
In addition to expanding its national reach, the USCP says it is enhancing its staffing within its Dignitary Protection Division for better security for members of Congress outside the National Capitol Region.
The USCP says it is also providing better training and establishing a new Critical Incident Response Plan to establish a “multi-phase action plan to quickly mobilize local, state, and federal manpower, including the Department of Defense, to respond to planned and/or no-notice emergencies. It is also working with Congressional oversight and the Capitol Police Board to obtain the authority to immediately request National Guard assistance if needed without having to wait for board approval.”
The new, beefed-up USCP has also acquired additional riot gear and less-than-lethal munitions to deal with protesters in the event of a similar situation in the future. Through the Department of Defense, the USCP will also have access to “state-of-the-art campus surveillance technology, which will enhance the ability to detect and monitor threat activity.”
The move to bolster the USCP includes a new recruitment effort, which includes the use of social media platforms and traditional media to recruit officers into its ranks.