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New Capitol Police Chief Manger takes charge amid turmoil at department

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23.07.2021

Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger took the helm of the strained Capitol Police department Friday, pledging to improve retention amid an exodus of personnel after a tragic year.

He’s taking on a huge challenge, amid officer complaints about mental health, staff retention and safety. And his first day on the job, the new chief has not yet spoken to the union representing the thousands of rank-and-file officers who protect the Capitol.

In a brief phone interview with POLITICO, Manger said he had “not had a chance to talk to the union chairman yet,” though he looked forward to doing so.

Union chairman Gus Papathanasiou confirmed the two have not yet spoken.

He’s assuming the top position at a time when rank-and-file officers don't have much confidence in the leadership team, which has faced scalding criticism in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack from the USCP Inspector General, an outside analysis from Lt. Gen. Russel Honore and a Senate investigation. Two Capitol Police officers are set to testify next week before a House select committee about their experiences during the insurrection, which will likely mention leadership failures.

Capitol Police union officials say the force is quickly approaching a crisis both of bruised morale and dwindling numbers, as officers look to leave and a significant wave are soon eligible for retirement.

Manger will have to stem the tide of officers looking for the exit and also shape the department into a force that attracts new recruits.

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© Politico


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