Capitol Police ramp up hiring to bolster lawmaker protection

Capitol Police ramp up hiring to bolster lawmaker protection

The Capitol Police launched a recruiting campaign Tuesday to address staffing shortages for the divisions that investigate threats against members of Congress and protect leadership.

The department, which previously only hired internal candidates for its Investigations Division and Dignitary Protection Division, announced that it will open the applicant pool to outside applicants.

The agency invited “anyone who is interested in an exciting career as a Special Agent or an Investigator with the USCP” to apply as entry-level hires to join as an agent or investigator with a starting salary of more than $81,000 and more than $85,000 after one year of required training.

Lateral hires from other federal law enforcement agencies or the military can make from $81,000 to $132,000, based on their relevant experience.

The Capitol Police also plan to hire retired federal law enforcement officers or military as drivers for members of Congress, protection for the lawmakers’ homes and to process reports of threats against members. Starting salary for those positions is more than $132,000.

The recruiting campaign includes a video that depicts agents escorting members of Congress to their cars, driving, running into buildings, breaching a door with tactical gear and answering a phone. Set to dramatic music, it casts the department as the “legislative version” of the Secret Service.

Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger has stressed to lawmakers that threat assessment agents, who track down threats made against members, are “stretched to capacity,” with an annual average caseload of nearly 500 each.

Meanwhile, the agents who protect members such as Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., are working tons of overtime at an “unsustainable” staffing level, according to Manger.

“One of the Department’s greatest challenges is the retention of our Dignitary Protection Division (DPD) and Investigations Division Agents,” Manger wrote in his testimony before a joint committee hearing in July.

Threats against members of Congress hit a high of 9,625 in 2021, the year of the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol. In 2022, there were 7,501 threats.

Members and their staff have been the subject of a flurry of attacks over the past year. Paul Pelosi, the husband of then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was attacked at their San Francisco home by a man wielding a hammer in October.

Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., was assaulted in her apartment complex, and a staffer for Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., was stabbed in Washington.

Manger has told lawmakers he wants to open new field offices in Boston, Milwaukee and at a location in Texas to help combat member threats. There are existing field offices in Tampa, Fla., and San Francisco.

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