In testimony prepared for his video appearance before the House Appropriations Committee, Chief Pittman also suggested that officers were not equipped for the violence they faced and did not have easy access to additional supplies of chemical sprays and other substances they needed to disperse the crowd. “Instead, the ministry had to send personnel to reload our officers,” she said.
Communications also failed, she said, with some officers unable to hear the din of the crowd on their radios. “Without a clear line of communication, officers were operating with limited information about what was going on and little direction from management,” she said.
Among the bigger issues, she suggested, was a delayed response to a call from her predecessor, Steven Sund, who was chief on the day of the attack and resigned as a result, for the deployment of troops. of the National Guard to help.
Two days before the attack, Chief Sund asked the Capitol Police Council to declare a state of emergency and authorize a request for National Guard support. The council denied the request, Chief Pittman testified, but encouraged Chief Sund to contact the National Guard to determine how many members could be sent to Capitol Hill on short notice, which he did.
As the crowds became a growing threat to the Capitol on January 6, Chief Sund called for more help from federal agencies and law enforcement in the region. “He also lobbied the board for permission to bring in the National Guard, but he didn’t get permission for over an hour,” Chief Pittman said.
According to a schedule the Department of Defense provided to the committee, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser called for the military’s help at 1:34 p.m., and Chief Sund called the DC National Guard at 1:49 p.m. But the military did not approve the Guard’s deployment until 3 p.m. and its members did not arrive at the Capitol to help until 5:40 p.m., more than four hours after Ms Bowser’s plea.
Two of the members of the Capitol Police Commission at the time of the attack have already resigned: Paul D. Irving, House Sergeant-at-Arms, and Michael C. Stenger, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms. The third member, J. Brett Blanton, the architect of the Capitol, is still on the board. Mr Blanton said in a statement that he had not participated in any discussion about the deployment of the National Guard.