Understaffed and overtaxed, Capitol Police reeling from trauma of body and mind

A long list of grave problems confronts the force, where there are already 233 vacancies, and hundreds more officers are on the brink of retirement, according to its union. Capitol Police leaders are facing intense political heat for their failures on Jan. 6, with three dozen facing internal investigations for their own actions during the chaos and the department’s inspector general delivering a scathing assessment. Two officers are suing Trump for alleged incitement of the insurrection.

Meanwhile, Congress is considering a wholesale restructuring of the department as it struggles to strike a balance between security and open access to the Capitol. As if that stress on the Capitol Police wasn’t enough, there’s the global pandemic that has beaten down all Americans, but especially those in front line roles like law enforcement.

“Anytime an organization has a loss like this, it permeates across the organization,” said Linda Singh, a former Maryland National Guard commander who served on retired Lt. Gen. Russell Honore’s task force on Capitol security. “They have to still show up and do their job. And that’s tough, right? It’s not like they can just shut down, take a pause, take time off.”