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Panel's Hard Questions for Capitol Police Chief

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Dine faced tough questions from Wasserman Schultz over whether the Capitol Police would be able to upgrade the department’s outdated radio system by this fall.

“I would like the Capitol Police to apply what my husband and I both abide by in our marriage, so that it’s managed better and things go more smoothly, to the honesty and transparency in which this project is going to come to fruition,” Wasserman Schultz continued.

Braddock ultimately admitted there was little chance of meeting the fall 2013 deadline, to which Wasserman Schultz replied, “Instead of having to drag that out of you, it would really be helpful” to get straight answers on this matter and others.

Lawmakers on Wednesday also asked questions that signaled their lingering insecurity after the shocking near-fatal shooting of their colleague, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., at a constituent event in Tucson, Ariz., in January 2011. Subcommittee member Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., asked Dine how he planned to combat “complacency” on the force, saying some officers seem distracted by nonrelevant television programs at their posts and that there didn’t seem to be a response system in place for when he reported he had received a violent threat on Capitol grounds.

Rep. Sanford D. Bishop Jr., D-Ga., another member of the panel, questioned Dine about his relationship with the Capitol Police Labor Committee, which is poised to hold a vote of no confidence against a Capitol inspector later this month, and about the status of a class-action discrimination lawsuit of black officers against the department that’s been ongoing for more than a decade.

Despite hard questioning, however, there was a general acknowledgement that Dine, being a new arrival, had quite a bit on his plate, especially with the first couple of months of the year overtaken by the presidential inauguration and State of the Union planning.

Dine, in turn, appeared to appreciate Congress’ involvement in the agency’s work.

“Having been in this position for over three months, I  . . .  have come to appreciate the interest of the Congress ... in our success,” Dine told the subcommittee. “You and your staffs have taken the time to work closely with the department’s leadership and have shown a keen awareness of the complexity of our mission and the challenges we face.”

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated when Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine was sworn in. He was sworn in to his post in December.

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