In response to increasing threats against members of Congress, the U.S. Capitol Police plans to open regional field offices across the country, including in Texas.
Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger announced the plans at a joint oversight hearing of the Capitol Police Board, describing a 300% increase in threats to members of Congress over the past seven years.
In addition to an office in Texas, the agency plans to open field offices in Milwaukee and Boston, Manger told the committee Wednesday. A Texas location has not yet been determined, a department spokesperson said.
The Capitol Police department, which is responsible for protecting Congress and its members, opened its first field offices in Florida and California after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump. The offices have helped his officers respond to threats more quickly and efficiently, Manger said.
“Due to the increased threat environment, our protective responsibilities have increased, requiring additional protection details, increased coverage of CODELs [official travel by members of Congress] and field hearings, as well as other enhancements to our current protective details,” he said in his written testimony to the committee.
According to the police department, the new offices will “ensure our department resources are adequately dispersed to safeguard Members of Congress and to investigate threats when in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere.”
Recent attacks on lawmakers, their families and staffers have made threats more visible.
“We had, tragically, a Senate staffer repeatedly stabbed in broad daylight here in Washington, D.C., just a couple blocks from this hearing room,” U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said during the hearing, raising concerns about the “explosion of threats of violence against members of both parties.”
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband was attacked in their California home last October, and U.S. Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minnesota, was assaulted in the elevator of her apartment building in February.
Manger said his agency is addressing threats by expanding intelligence-gathering operations, increasing the number of investigative agents and working with state and local law enforcement.
“We need to do a better job at protecting members when they’re home, their families,” Manger said. “We’ve got to make sure that we’ve got security measures in place in home district offices, in homes, so that it raises everybody’s level of security.”