FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

Dynamic Plaques - FVT Plaques
FVT Plaques is introducing new dynamic plaques to recognize police and sheriff's...

Legally Defensible Training Records

Ask The Expert

Ari Vidali

CEO and Founder of Envisage Technologies

Top News

Congressional Leaders Step Up Security After Arizona Shooting

January 13, 2011  | 


U.S. Capitol Police use a threat assessment process to determine whether officers travel with members of Congress to provide extra security. Photo via Flickr (rafikk).

Several federal elected leaders have vowed to better arm themselves as they travel among their constituents, after a gunman critically wounded an Arizona congresswoman at a community event.

Jared Loughner's decision to open fire at Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' community event, killing six and wounding 14 others, has brought security into sharper focus for national politicians wanting personal protection, as well as a connection to their constituency.

Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance W. Gainer, a 42-year officer, has said he doesn't advise national politicians to arm themselves while in their districts, however several elected leaders believe they need more security.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), a longtime gun owner, told the Washington Post that he'll bring his Glock 23 more often when heading into the country. Rep. Health Shuler (D-N.C.) told Politico he would carry his handgun more often. And Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) told the Associated Press he would renew a concealed carry permit that had lapsed.

Most elected members of Congress aren't provided a security detail in their home districts. The Secret Service provides security for top leaders such as the President, Vice President, Senate Majority Leader, Speaker of the House and others.

U.S. Capitol Police provide security in D.C., and will usually send an officer on a trip with a member of Congress facing a direct threat.

"We do in some instances travel with some members of congress as part of our mission which we have the authority to do," U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider tells POLICE Magazine. "We also have a threat assessment process which drives our decision making process when it comes to members of Congress."

Members of Congress can also ask their local law enforcement agency for a two-officer detail, if they believe a threat exists, retired NYPD Sgt. John Negus tells POLICE Magazine.

However, local law enforcement often suffers from a manpower crunch that can limit security provided by patrol officers.

"Most police department don't have capacity to do that," Negus said. "In certain areas, if you only have four guys on patrol are you going to take them off patrol to babysit some politician? If any official feels there's a need, they should approach the police department and they'll do what they can."

Negus once oversaw the NYPD's intelligence unit that provides security for top-level and second-in-command diplomats from 93 countries with business at the United Nations. He's now an assistant executive director with Executive Protection Institute, which trains law enforcement officers, military personnel and private security.

Prior to her Safeway event on Saturday, Rep. Giffords had spoken publicly about violent threats made against her and vandalism to her office. She told MSNBC that "we can't stand for this," after vandals smashed her Tucson office window following her support of President Obama's healthcare bill.

Federal lawmakers receive a steady stream of harrassing phone calls and e-mails and often don't contact local law enforcement for event security.

The Pima County (Ariz.) Sheriff's Office was not even aware of her Jan. 8 Congress on Your Corner event, Dep. Erin Gibson tells POLICE Magazine. Unless members alert the agency, a local sheriff or police chief may not even know the official is in town.

"We did not have any contact with her," Gibson said. "We didn't receive a request for security, nor were we aware of any threats against her."


Comments (2)

Displaying 1 - 2 of 2

Deadman18 @ 1/13/2011 7:18 PM

How about this,senators and congressmen/women keep their sunday go-to meetings to a closed environment,such as a council chamber,an auditorium(Not School Auditorium) aclosed storefront with limited access,use off duty police officers paid for by senators or congressmens campaign funds,no on duty officers.On duty to be utilized at parades and out door activities with city re-imbursed.

Also,stop using schools for voting,sexual predators can vote,but they violate restrictions to vote.Use your head some of these solutions are not that difficult,they take some planning.

DUDE @ 1/14/2011 6:42 AM

How about we stop providing any security for anyone in congress? What makes them so special over any of us? I'm responsible for my own security and that of my family. None of our tax money should be spent on senators or congressmen. Just as our jobs come with risks, so do theirs!

Join the Discussion





POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent News

Ohio Man Called 911 Asking for a Police Dog to Help Him Find Stolen Heroin
A Bath Township, OH, man was arrested earlier this year after he called 911 requesting a...
TX Authorities Searching for Missing Officer Who is Reportedly Experiencing Emotional Distress
Police did not release his name, but said that his vehicle was found Tuesday morning at...
Arkansas Chief Shot Trying to Disarm Suicidal Subject
Booneville (AR) Police Chief Albert Brown was recovering Wednesday from a leg wound he...
Video: Masked Man Sitting in Car with Handguns Arrested Outside of Dallas Police Station
According to police sources, Adan Salazar, 22, drove up to the security checkpoint, where...
Video: Man Wanted for Killing Delaware Trooper Fatally Shot by Police After 20-Hour Standoff
Police arrived, secured a perimeter, and attempted to make contact with Sealy. He then...

Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Rank:
Agency:
Address:
City:
State:
  
Zip Code:
 
Country:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine