J. Thomas Manger, head of the Capitol Police, said Sunday that reforms have made his force better equipped to deal with an attack like the one that occurred last Jan. 6 but his unit is terribly short-staffed.
“We’re now really about 400 officers short of where we need to be,” Manger told host Trace Gallagher on “Fox News Sunday.”
Manger, who took over the top post in July, said attrition blamed on the Jan. 6 attacks had depleted the ranks, and that they were fewer new trainees because of an extended Covid shutdown in 2020.
“One thing that we have not been able to fix, so to speak, are the staffing issues,“ he said.
In the aftermath of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Manger said threats against members of Congress had increased “exponentially“ but that planning for emergencies had been improved, and that the Capitol Police will greatly benefit from being able to directly call out the D.C. National Guard, a policy change signed into law by President Joe Biden.
“The fact,“ Manger said, “that we have the authority to call out the National Guard, the fact that we have formal processes in place to get additional resources from area law enforcement agencies is a big improvement, and we believe it would have prevented something like Jan. 6 from happening.“
Manger came out of retirement to lead the Capitol Police, having most recently served as the police chief in Maryland’s nearby Montgomery County. Gallagher asked him about his reactions as a civilian watching the events of Jan. 6.
“As I was watching the events on the sixth, very emotional day, alternately just angry, just horrified by the assaults that were going on against police officers there,” he said.