Permanent fencing coming to Capitol amid efforts to bolster security

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Washington — The acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police called for “vast improvements” to security around the Capitol in the wake of the January 6 attack on the complex, including the installation of permanent fencing and stationing of nearby backup security forces.

Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman said that Capitol Police has “hardened the physical security across the Capitol Complex in order to further protect the Congress” in the weeks since a mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters overran the Capitol. One Capitol Police officer was killed during the attack, and another died by suicide shortly thereafter.

Federal law enforcement and thousands of National Guard troops erected extensive fencing around the Capitol in the wake of the attack, locking down the area ahead of President Biden’s inauguration. More than 25,000 National Guard troops were sent to the nation’s capital in the weeks after the assault, and around 5,000 troops are expected to remain in Washington, D.C., through mid-March.

Pittman said the Capitol Police was conducting its own investigation into the events of January 6, and would cooperate with investigations by the department’s inspector general and “the third-party review of the Complex’s physical infrastructure, processes, and command and control being conducted at the behest of Speaker Pelosi by retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré.”

“I welcome each of these reviews, and I am ensuring that the Department will provide all of the information that is necessary to facilitate these studies. In the end, we all have the same goal — to prevent what occurred on January 6 from ever happening again,” Pittman said. She noted that a 2006 security assessment recommended the erection of a perimeter fence around the Capitol.

“In light of recent events, I can unequivocally say that vast improvements to the physical security infrastructure must be made to include permanent fencing, and the availability of ready, back-up forces in close proximity to the Capitol,” Pittman said. “I look forward to working with Congress on identifying the security improvements necessary to ensure the safety and security of the Congress and the U.S. Capitol.”

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