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US Capitol Police Still Fleeing Months After Attack

Union says around 70 Capitol Police have left due to trauma and budget woes
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2021 9:15 AM CDT

(Newser) – Over 70 members of the US Capitol Police have left the department in the wake of the January 6 attack by followers of former President Donald Trump. Per Politico, that number was cited by the department's union, whose chair, Gus Papathanasiou, blamed budget woes and the lingering trauma of the insurrection. While he welcomed the fresh cash influx, Papathanasiou said he fears the recently passed (barely) supplemental spending package aimed at fortifying the long understaffed force won't be enough because it doesn't focus on the glaring staffing issue. “What keeps me awake at night is not the challenge of hiring and training more police officers, but keeping the officers we have right now,” Papathanasiou said.

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The union also pointed to the looming retirement of potentially hundreds of officers. Already, National Guard troops have been protecting the building for months and public access is severely limited. Though razor-wire-topped fencing that stood as a stark reminder of the siege has been removed, an extended perimeter fence remains in place, cutting off access to the lush grounds popular with the public, per the AP. The highly contentious spending bill does authorize back pay for overtime hours worked by Capitol Police, hazard pay, as well as retention bonuses and funding for training. It now heads to the evenly divided Senate. (Read more Capitol attack stories.)

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