Text of Davis’s opening remarks:
Thank you, Chairperson Lofgren.
Before I get started, I want to take a moment to thank our Capitol Police Officers. On Tuesday, we honored the life and service of Officer Billy Evans. The death of Officer Evans follows the tragic deaths of Officer Sicknick and Officer Liebengood.
To say it’s been a difficult few month for our officers would be an understatement.
Our officers on the frontlines need to be commended. Not a single staffer or member was physically injured on January 6th and that’s because our officers did their jobs. I have heard from so many of our officers and know that many are struggling. For every single officer that is watching, please know that the job you do on a daily basis does not go unnoticed. You are appreciated, and please don’t be afraid to seek the help that you need. As someone who knows how traumatic events can impact our mental health, know that professional assistance can make a big difference.
With that said, I’m glad we’re having this hearing today. It’s long overdue.
It’s been more than three months since the attack on the U.S. Capitol, and this is the first hearing this committee is holding on the issue – this committee that has primary jurisdictional oversight of the U.S. Capitol Police, House Sergeant at Arms, and the Architect of the Capitol.
Although I’m glad we’re having this hearing, I think we’ve skipped a step. This committee has not heard from anyone involved in the decision-making process surrounding January 6th. Our members have not been able to question under oath any former or current leaders within the U.S. Capitol Police or House Sergeant at Arms. This is critical to our oversight of these entities.
The night of January 6th, I spoke with Chairperson Lofgren and Speaker Pelosi on the floor about working in a bipartisan way to ensure an attack like this never happens again. They agreed. Unfortunately, that was the last bipartisan conversation we had regarding January 6th in the House, despite my efforts to keep the conversations going.
Since then, at the direction of the Speaker, preservation and production requests from my office have not been honored by the House Sergeant at Arms and House CAO, both entities controlled by the Speaker.
In addition, dozens of Democrat members of the House have—without any evidence—publicly accused Republican Members of giving would-be rioters reconnaissance tours of the Capitol on January 5th. To my knowledge, there has, unbelievably, been little to no effort by Democrats to determine if there is any merit to their accusations or if these were just reckless accusations made for purely political reasons – I, for one, would like to know the truth. But, as I mentioned, this is the first hearing that the Chair has called on the issue of January 6th—more than three months after the attack, despite my continued calls to work with the chair to address the security failures.
While the House Sergeant at Arms and the CAO denied my preservation and production requests related to January 6th, the USCP has complied. After reviewing much of the video footage and documents provided by the USCP, I will be releasing a series of short reports.
These reports will detail the security failures leading up to and on January 6th, as well as make recommendations to ensure the Capitol is better protected.
One major area that has bipartisan agreement, at least in the Senate and among House Appropriators, is the need to reform the Capitol Police Board.
I have said for a long time that an overhaul of the board is needed. I believe Inspector General Bolton’s reports have been extremely helpful. Unfortunately, the Capitol Police Board has failed over the years to execute on his recommendations. And, let me remind folks, IG Bolton reports directly to the Capitol Police Board.
Like IG Bolton, I’m incredibly concerned with the USCP’s lack of ability to manage and interpret the intelligence they are getting from other agencies. I also believe that the USCP must operate as a proactive protection force and less as a traditional police department. This evolution will require updated training and hiring practices to reflect the USCP’s refined mission.
However, we cannot even begin to implement many of these necessary reforms without first addressing the Capitol Police Board’s failed structure, which sequesters authority in a slow-moving organization focused on serving political ends while restricting the USCP’s ability to respond nimbly to emergent threats.
You can see from my chart here how the security structure currently works. The Speaker appoints the House Sergeant at Arms, the Senate Majority Leader appoints the Senate Sergeant at Arms, and the Senate confirms the Architect of the Capitol. These three make up the Capitol Police Board, which oversees the Capitol Police. What does that mean exactly? For example, without approval from the board, the Capitol Police Chief cannot terminate officers, establish regulations for training of officers, install or maintain Capitol security systems, select officers in emergency situations, and the list goes on and on.
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