FLEOA Weighs in on Capitol Police GAO Report

FLEOA Share GAO Report on Capitol Police Action in Preparation for Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol Attack




March 7, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Larry Cosme, National President of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) – the nation’s largest non-partisan, non-for-profit professional association representing more than 31,000 federal law enforcement officers and agents across 65 federal agencies – released the following statement regarding the latest Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, focusing on Capitol Police officer preparation to use force and maintain crowd control:

 "The January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol exposed many security flaws, especially those by the U.S. Capitol Police. Many Americans were shocked by the level of unpreparedness that became evident during the riot and the seemingly ad-hoc response of law enforcement. FLEOA has advocated time and again for better policies, procedures, and equipment for U.S. Capitol Police. It is extremely unfortunately that it took such a dangerous attack to increase national attention on the impact of these gaps on our law enforcement readiness,” FLEOA President Cosme said.

"FLEOA is grateful the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has dedicated time and attention to addressing this issue. We were proud to participate in the report development. Stakeholder input is critical for ensuring problems highlighted reflect the experience of officers in the field and recommendations presented address the issues officers experience,” Cosme continued, "GAO accurately addressed many critical issues facing the U.S. Capitol Police and the need for U.S. Capitol police to better train, prepare, and equip their officers as well as coordinate efforts with surrounding agencies. FLEOA supports GAO’s recommendations and hopes they are acted upon quickly to ensure the U.S. Capitol Police are always prepared to protect the Capitol and political figures.

"One important issue that was not addressed in the report is the makeup and management of the U.S. Capitol Police Board. The Capitol Police Chief does not have a vote on the board. Meanwhile, other political appointees do have a vote. Until this makeup is reformed, the politics of the Capitol may override good law enforcement policies. The U.S. Capitol Police Board cannot function effectively if political decisions are given more weight than decisions based on law enforcement best practices. FLEOA encourages Congress to reconsider the Board’s makeup to ensure politics does not inhibit public safety, or as we saw on January 6, undermine our democratic system,” Cosme concluded.

Read the full GAO report here: