- The Washington Times
Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Former Capitol Police Chief Steve Sund told lawmakers Tuesday that future police chiefs must have the authority to request the National Guard when there is a threat to the U.S. Capitol.

“I think in exigent circumstances that there needs to be a streamlined process for the Capitol Police chief, for Capitol Police, to have authority,” Mr. Sund said in testimony about the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Mr. Sund, one of four witnesses who testified before two Senate committees about the attack, said he cannot request the National Guard without a declaration of emergency from the Capitol Police Board.

Under the current chain of command, the police chief must ask the Capitol Police Board to invoke an emergency declaration emergency and then approve a formal request for the National Guard.

He said his authority is so limited, he can’t even give officers cold water on excessively hot days unless a declaration of emergency is declared.

The acting head of Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department, Robert J. Contee III, told lawmakers that he was “surprised” and “stunned” that there was a “reluctance” to deploy the National Guard during the riot.

Roughly an hour passed before the Pentagon approved the request for more guard troops to disperse the violent mob that stormed the Capitol. Those troops arrived at 5:40 p.m., more than four hours after the initial request, Mr. Sund said.

Mr. Contree said 300 unarmed members of the D.C. National Guard was deployed on the day of the attack, but they were there to provide traffic control and other services.

Because the District of Columbia is not a state, only the president has the power to deploy the National Guard.

“Your testimony makes clear that the current structure of the Capitol Police Board resulted in delays in bringing in assistance from the National Guard,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota Democrat, told Mr. Sund.

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.