“The significance of Congress’ certification of the electoral college votes coupled with widely published organizing efforts of supporters of the current President to once again decry and protest 2020 election results were significant enough indicators for law enforcement to align appropriate resources and partnerships to effect robust security protocols to protect the members of Congress, the U. S. Capitol, its staff and the public; however, the despicable destructive acts by “supporters” turned terrorists overwhelmed the scarce resourcing of Capitol Police”, said NOBLE National President Lynda R. Williams in response to the mass mob that overtook the U. S Capitol Police (USCP) and forced the members of Congress to shelter in place during a riotous insurrection on January 6, 2021.
Needless to say answers for how and why U.S. Capitol Police were so ill-prepared are being demanded now, but not for one minute should there be the belief that there are not enough resources or proper training or that they lack experience with mass crowds; the U.S. Capitol is a beacon for patriotic discourse as well as reverent civic ceremonies. The U.S. Capitol Police practice for such occasions. What intelligence was considered in the security planning process? What information was discounted or misinterpreted as insignificant enough to dismiss the notion that a mass of thousands, already convening a mere 1.4 miles from the U.S. Capitol grounds, enmeshed in their ill-informed stance of a stolen election, would not also descend on the U.S. Capitol at the very moment Congress was to certify the electoral college votes? Intelligence has also been plentiful that, whether happenstance or intentional, rogue groups intent on destruction and chaos have aligned with the current President’s supporters and been among them at protest rallies; the consideration of this alone warranted full collaborative deployment of tactically suited law enforcement support from the local and federal law enforcement community, and yet…
A full scale after-action review does not need to begin with finger pointing, it needs to begin at the beginning of the planning leading up to January 6th; it needs to include relevant intelligence that was considered and discounted intelligence; it needs to evaluate the metrics and thresholds used to determine what occasions, groups, and/or protest themes warrant specific levels of tactical coverage/deployment and a comparison of when such protocol has deviated from stated policy or practice, and why; it needs to evaluate the U.S. Capitol Police Department’s collaborative relationships between law enforcement and military entities in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and determine metrics and thresholds for partner deployment as well.
Nothing less than transparent accountability at the highest level of this security planning should be tolerated; the farce preparation, such that allowed the collapse of security, needlessly risking lives should never be accepted, tolerated or repeated. In a time when the public should rightfully expect and receive the fair and consistent deployment and execution of duties from law enforcement professionals, disparate operating procedures for like scenarios are unacceptable, disregarding all available intelligence is inexcusable, leveraging any and all available resources to contain and manage people, threats and attacks needs to run precedent, indiscriminately and without reserve in order to secure life and property, now and always.
About the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives
Since 1976, The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) has served as the conscience of law enforcement by being committed to justice by action. NOBLE represents over 3,000 members internationally, who are primarily African American chief executive officers of law enforcement agencies at federal, state, county and municipal levels, other law enforcement administrators, and criminal justice practitioners. For more information, visit www.NOBLENational.org.