U.S. Capitol Police are working to fix major communication issues after an inspector general review reportedly found that most officers’ radio calls for help during the violent Jan. 6 attack were not properly broadcast.
The majority of officers who pressed the panic button on their radios did not have their emergency activation simulcast on police radio as required by standard protocol, The Associated Press reported.
The agency said this week that it “has acknowledged there were communication gaps on January 6.”
“Given the events of January 6th, the enormous amount of radio traffic that day was not surprising. Additionally, the size and magnitude of January 6 made it difficult to respond to each officer’s emergency radio broadcast in real-time,” U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) said in a statement on Tuesday.
USCP noted that all sworn personnel were given smartphones ahead of Jan. 6 to cut down on radio traffic and bolster communication.
The police force says it has been developing new policies for monitoring emergency signals and communication with other law enforcement agencies. It also hired a retired Secret Service agent to help oversee changes to the operational planning process for major events.
The announcement comes as officials are preparing for a rally planned next month near the Capitol to demand “justice” for hundreds of people accused of breaching the building during the attack.
More than 500 people have been arrested and charged in connection with the riot, many of whom have been released while they await trial. Others, however, are still detained and some have complained of harsh treatment by staff, including allegations of abuse and excessive solitary confinement.
Event organizer Matt Braynard, executive director of Look Ahead America (LAA), says the upcoming rally is “to raise awareness of this tragedy of this grave violation of civil rights of hundreds of our fellow Americans.”
The rally is scheduled to begin at noon Sept. 18 in Union Square on the west side of the Capitol grounds.
USCP Special Events did not respond to an email inquiry about a permit for the demonstration.
Mr. Braynard served as director of data and strategy for former President Trump’s 2016 campaign and started a project to “investigate illegal ballots cast in 2020,” according to the LAA website. The organization says its mission is to help “millions of rural and blue-collar patriotic Americans who are disaffected and disenfranchised from the nation’s corridors of power” by educating and registering them to vote.
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