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Capitol Police officers mulling resignation, early retirement after Jan. 6 riot

The leader of the police union attributed talk of officers' departure to a "lack of trust in our leadership who clearly failed us."

Capitol protest
Capitol protest
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Updated: March 1, 2021 - 5:04pm

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U.S. Capitol Police officers are considering leaving the force, either by resignation or early retirement because of the Capitol breach on Jan. 6., according to their union.

"Many officers that are retirement eligible are seriously looking at turning in their retirement papers," Chairman of the United States Capitol Police Labor Committee Gus Papathanasiou said in a statement Friday. "Since January 6th, several officers have retired as a result. I cannot tell you the number of younger officers who have confided in me since the insurrection who are actively looking at other police agencies or even new careers."

He attributed the possible exodus to "a lack of trust in our leadership who clearly failed us on January 6" and noted that other police agencies offer a better work environment and better retirement benefits than Capitol Police. 

Papathanasiou said, "If Congress wants to recruit and retain officers to meet the heightened security threat, they are going to have address both the leadership and quality of life issues driving officers to leave this department."

U.S. Capitol Police leadership has been scrutinized for failure to keep rioters from breaching the Capitol building and questioned about its level of preparedness in advance of the incident, after which one officer died shortly after engaging rioters. 

The forced entry was led in part by Trump supporters opposed to congressional certification of the 2020 election results for Democrat Joe Biden.

A reported 250 people have been charged in connection with the incident.

Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund resigned following the siege. 

"The breach of the United States Capitol was not the result of poor planning or failure to contain a demonstration gone wrong," Sund said in testimony before Congress last week. "No single civilian law enforcement agency — and certainly not the USCP — is trained and equipped to repel ... an insurrection of thousands of armed, violent and coordinated individuals focused on breaching a building at all costs."

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