Members of the United States Capitol Police union reportedly issued a vote of no confidence in their upper levels of Capitol Police leadership late last week.
According to CNN, the union originally scheduled the no-confidence vote to occur during the week that Officer Sicknick would lie in honor at the Capitol building. This resulted in officer complaints over the timing of the vote, and it was postponed.
The vote started on Thursday afternoon and continued for 24 hours, “giving officers on three shifts a chance to vote at work.” Union and non-union members were eligible to take part. The vote “was open to those who were represented by the collective bargaining agreement.”
Pittman is the current acting Chief. She was sworn in on January 8, after former Chief Steven Sund resigned following the January 6 riots at the Capitol building.
On January 7, The New York Times reported on the resignation of Sund, who was the acting Chief leading up to and during the attack.
“Steven Sund, the Capitol Police chief, will also leave his position on Jan. 16 after Ms. Pelosi called for his resignation, saying ‘Mr. Sund, he hasn’t even called us since this happened.’”
Others also stepped down from their posts. On January 7, then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he “requested and has received Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger’s immediate resignation,” according to reporting by NPR at the time. Before Stenger officially resigned as the Senate Sergeant at Arms, then-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement to NPR that he would fire Stenger if he did not resign before the “Democrats have a majority in the Senate.” The Sergeant at Arms of the House, Paul D. Irving, also resigned after the events of January 6.
On January 26, new Acting Chief Pittman spoke to members of the House Appropriations Committee, in a “closed-door briefing,” according to The New York Times. In a prepared statement, she apologized on behalf of the Department. The statement reads, in part:
“Let me be clear: the Department should have been more prepared for this attack. By January 4th, the Department knew that the January 6th event would not be like any of the previous protests held in 2020. We knew that militia groups and white supremacists organizations would be attending. We also knew that some of these participants were intending to bring firearms and other weapons to the event. We knew that there was a strong potential for violence and that Congress was the target. The Department prepared in order to meet these challenges, but we did not do enough.”
Pittman explained former Chief Sund’s concern two days before the attack took place, noting that on January 4, Sund “requested that the Capitol Police Board declare a state of emergency and authorize a request to secure National Guard support.” She acknowledged that the Board denied Sund’s request, instead encouraging him to “contact the DC National Guard to determine how many Guardsman could be sent to the Capitol on short notice, which he did.”
The no-confidence vote of the Capitol Police last week comes after officers have reportedly told CNN “that intelligence and operational failures left them vulnerable to the attack on January 6, and said they worry current leadership is incapable of managing future incidents.”
Acting Chief Pittman released a statement on Saturday following the no-confidence vote, saying she is “committed to ensuring every officer gets what they need and deserve.
Her statement is in full below:
“It’s been just over one month since one of our nation’s darkest days, and the trauma is still incredibly raw and difficult for the many officers who fought heroically on the 6th. Since being sworn in on January 8th, my executive team and I have made the well-being of our officers our top priority. While progress has been made, more work remains. And I am committed to ensuring every officer gets what they need and deserve.”
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