The acting U.S. Capitol Police chief Yogananda Pittman said that security around the Capitol was insufficient and that fencing surrounding it must be installed permanently. Not only that but that there should be the “availability of ready, back-up forces in close proximity to the Capitol.”
PERMANENT SECURITY FENCING coming to US Capitol.
New statement from acting US Capitol Police chief: "Vast improvements to the physical security infrastructure must be made to include permanent fencing" pic.twitter.com/6JMPfcn1E9
— Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) January 28, 2021
Right now there is temporary non-scalable fencing with barbwire on top of it, not a good look for Washington, D.C. to have.
While the events allegedly needing security have largely passed, the security — the fencing and National Guard — have remained, although the Guard force has been reduced to around 7,000 from a high of over 25,000.
Pittman said it wasn’t a new idea to have permanent fencing, that it’s been suggested since 9/11. He claimed a “2006 security assessment specifically recommended the installation of a permanent perimeter fence around the Capitol.”
But Mayor Muriel Bowser was not on board with all this and others were fighting back against the hyper security state as well.
“Based on conversations with federal partners, there are some potentially volatile events upcoming that will require extra security. Fencing and the presence of troops will be a part of that,” Bowser tweeted, referencing former President Trump’s upcoming impeachment trial.
“But we will not accept extra troops or permanent fencing as a long-term fixture in DC.”
“When the time is right, the fencing around the White House and U.S. Capitol, just like the plywood we’ve seen on our businesses for too long, will be taken down,” she added.
One of the reasons that Bowser is so against it is that it’s a traffic nightmare and completely unsustainable as an option because the fencing and barriers not only interfere with pedestrian/bike routes, they also cut off two major traffic thoroughfares.
D.C. Council Member at Large Christina Henderson was also against it.
Is this really what we think Capitol Hill needs to look like 365 days of the year to keep lawmakers and staff safe?
Is this really how we want to experience the People’s House?
Congress should reject the USCP proposal for permanent fencing.
— Christina Henderson (@chenderson) January 28, 2021
But Bowser doesn’t control the federal property and Democrats seem all in to clamp down.
Schumer says he hasn’t seen the Capitol Police proposal on fencing yet but that he “would tend to defer to the experts.”
Asked about public right to access grounds, Schumer said there “should be both safety and the right to access the building. Let’s see what they propose.”
— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) January 28, 2021
But Democrats who have decried the building of a wall on the Southern Border and tried to stop it seem to be just cool with fencing keeping Americans out of their government as long as it protects Congress.
Walls for me not for thee.
— Michael W. Bunner (@michaelwbunner) January 29, 2021
The Capitol Police has more than 2000 officers and an annual budget of $500 million, all to patrol 2 square miles of land. We don’t need permanent fencing around the seat of US democracy. We need them to do their job.
— James Surowiecki (@JamesSurowiecki) January 28, 2021
The United States Capitol is a symbol of a free people to the world.
You can go to communist China & walk around Tiananmen Square, but we won’t be able to walk around the Capitol in America?!?
Members of Congress need to prevent the permanent fencing around the Capitol. 🇺🇸 https://t.co/NY1WuhFFub
— Scott T. Parkinson (@ScottTParkinson) January 28, 2021