Fund the police!
The embattled officers of the Capitol Police received a strong dose of support on Sunday, as the head of that union urged Congress to step up in the wake of another attack, last Friday, at the U.S. Capitol.
Gus Papathanasiou, chairman of the U.S. Capitol Police Labor Committee, cited attrition in the ranks and a strong possibility that would continue.
“We are struggling to meet existing mission requirements even with the officers working massive amounts of forced overtime,” he said in a statement. “In the next 3-5 years we have another 500 officers who will be eligible to retire. Many of these officers could put in their retirement papers tomorrow.
“I’ve had many younger officers confide in me that they’re actively looking at other agencies and departments right now.”
Papathanasiou is asking Congress to act on task-force recommendations presented last month that Capitol Police fill all open positions and add nearly 800 more.
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré led that task force, which was charged with looking into the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
Honoré told ABC’s “This Week” that Congress must “move forward now.”
“Our nation deserves it,” he said. “And those families who have lost loved ones deserve it. And we need to up our game in support of the Capitol Police.”
Papathanasiou said the immediate focus “has to be retaining our existing officers,” adding that Friday’s attack, which killed Officer William Evans, has had a profound effect on officers.
Officer Brian Sicknick died from injuries suffered during the Jan. 6 riot, and another Capitol Police officer died by suicide later.
“We have now lost two officers in the line of duty this year,” Papathanasiou said. “Another officer has taken his own life and we have 80 officers who were seriously injured in the insurrection.”