Capitol Police watchdog details more department shortcomings from Jan. 6

Communications, coordination were lacking, IG report states

Michael A. Bolton, inspector general of the Capitol Police, shakes hands with House Administration Chairperson Zoe Lofgren before testifying at an oversight hearing in 2019.  (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Michael A. Bolton, inspector general of the Capitol Police, shakes hands with House Administration Chairperson Zoe Lofgren before testifying at an oversight hearing in 2019. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted September 1, 2021 at 7:15pm

The Capitol Police inspector general has found widespread deficiencies in the department’s Command and Coordination Bureau and, in a separate report, said the force did not provide adequate guidance for the K-9 and bomb squad units.

The flash reports compiled by Capitol Police Inspector General Michael A. Bolton are the latest in a series of reviews into what the department could have done better to prepare for and respond to the Capitol rioters seeking to disrupt the Jan. 6 certification of Joe Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump.

House Administration Chairperson Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., whose panel has oversight of the Capitol Police, released the executive summaries and recommendations Wednesday, saying in a statement that they revealed “more information about the severity of the threat to the U.S. Capitol on January 6 and institutional shortcomings within the Department that must be addressed.”

The Hazardous Incident Response Division, or HIRD, which provides bomb squad functions, “contributed greatly” to the department’s mission on Jan. 6 by sweeping the Capitol complex and “rendering safe multiple hazardous devices,” Bolton wrote. On the day of the Capitol attack, explosives were found near the complex.

But coordination between the HIRD team and Capitol Police’s operational leadership was “flawed, which resulted in misinformation among officers,” Bolton found. The Hazardous Materials Response Team — a component of HIRD — lacked personnel and equipment to “successfully complete its mission,” the inspector general wrote. Lack of up-to-date policies and procedures in the division have created “ambiguity and lack of accountability and coordination,” the report says.

With regard to the K-9 unit, the department did not consistently ensure policies and procedures were current, according to Bolton.

“A lack of K-9 related training or operational experience required for officials and formal guidance for emergency procedures, as well as inadequate hazardous device response guidance could have hampered the efficiency of the K-9 Unit on January 6, 2021,” the report says.

Lofgren said these deficiencies “hindered responding units’ ability to successfully complete their mission.”

Bolton’s team interviewed 36 Capitol Police officers as part of its review of the Command and Coordination Bureau. The inspector general found department-wide command and control flaws related to information sharing, chain of command directions, communication, preparedness, training, leadership development, emergency response procedures and law enforcement coordination.

The report found that the department “did not appropriately conduct or document monthly proficiency validations for Command Center employees, appropriately respond to emergency identifier activations for officers on January 6, 2021, or appropriately complete its Command Center Daily Check Sheets as guidance requires.”