DC Mayor Bowser rejects calls for permanent fencing around the Capitol
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The acting U.S. Capitol Police chief suggested "permanent fencing" be installed around the perimeter of the Capitol building Thursday, to be better secure congressional lawmakers from another attack like the Jan. 6 breach.
Yogananda Pittman, who stepped in to lead Capitol Police after Steven Sund resigned following criticism for his ill-prepared security measures, said in a statement that one of her first acts was to order a physical security assessment of the Capitol.
"In light of recent events, I can unequivocally say that vast improvements to the physical security infrastructure must be made to include permanent fencing, and the availability of ready, back-up forces in close proximity to the Capitol," Pittman said.
But D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has rejected the calls for additional security, likening the defenses of the Capitol to wooden boards that have been erected to protect businesses from protesters on the streets.
"Based on conversations with federal partners, there are some potentially volatile events upcoming that will require extra security," Bowser said on twitter Thursday. "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" the mayor added.
Pittman said her recommendation was in line with what security experts have been arguing since before Sept. 11, 2001. And added that "a 2006 security assessment specifically recommended the installation of a permanent perimeter fence around the Capitol."
Fencing has remained in parts around the Capitol following the tighten security measures for President Biden’s inauguration.
The deployment of 7,000 National Guardsmen in Washington, D.C. has been extended through the end of March over concerns of additional civil unrest as the Senate prepares to launch impeachment hearings for former President Trump the week of Feb. 8.
The hearings will review Trump’s involvement in perpetuating the attack on the Capitol building by hundreds of pro-Trump supporters, which left five dead including one police officer.
Another two Capitol Police officers took their own lives following the attack.