A four-person team of highly trained Capitol Police officers responding to the Navy Yard shooting on Sept. 16 was recalled from the scene because of concerns about potential threats to the Capitol, according to an internal review of Capitol Police actions.
Based on information being gathered at the command center that day on the nature of the attack and the potential of threats or secondary attacks — and absent a request for additional Capitol Police assets — the Containment and Emergency Response Team was recalled to the Capitol 30 minutes after reports of the shooting.
Those facts were outlined in a two-page report released by the Capitol Police Board on Friday afternoon detailing the findings of an independent review of the department’s response.
“Initial reports of the actions of USCP personnel were inaccurate and failed to convey the nuanced complexity of such situations including the personal and professional impact on potential first responders,” according to the statement released Friday.
The report was due on Oct. 21, but the federal government shutdown delayed the investigation.
In conducting the review, the team interviewed dozens of Capitol Police personnel and others and reviewed written reports, radio transmissions and incident logs from the command center.
Two motorcycle units responded and assisted with traffic control on M Street Southeast that day, plus a field sergeant who was stationed in the Navy Yard command center. A third field unit deployed to the southwest corner of the Navy Yard, where it assisted in providing perimeter security. The report focused on the CERT team, which responded to 11th and M streets SE.
According to the review, traffic gridlock caused by emergency vehicles and commuters prevented the CERT team from reaching the command post when they initially responded. As a result, the team moved closer to the Capitol so officers could respond to either location.
The order from the command center came over 30 minutes after the first reports of the attack.
The team also made “several recommendations” to improve command and control of personnel, internal communications, mutual aid participation, and after-action debriefings. Dine concurs with the recommendations and has begun implementing them, according to the statement.
The full report and recommendations will not be made publicly available, according to the statement, because it contains sensitive law enforcement information.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.