Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo
J. Thomas Manger testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on background checks and gun access in 2017.
Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo
The Capitol Police Board has named J. Thomas Manger as the new chief of the U.S. Capitol Police. Manger, who served more than 40 years in policing, starts his appointment Friday, following months of internal turmoil within the agency following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Manger spent 15 years as police chief in Montgomery County, and before that, served as police chief in Fairfax County, receiving numerous national awards as chief of both departments. Manger has previously served as president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association and a VP of the of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), addressing law enforcement issues nationwide. He was inducted to the Montgomery County Human Rights Hall of Fame in 2012.
"I am humbled and honored to join the men and women of the U.S. Capitol Police Department in their mission to protect the Congress, the Capitol and the federal legislative process," Manger said in a release. "The challenges in protecting the Capitol campus, and everyone who works or visits there, have never been more complex. The courage and dedication of the men and women of this agency were on great display on Jan. 6th. It is now my job to ensure that they have the resources and support to continue to fulfill their mission in an ever increasingly difficult job."
USCP Chief Steven Sund resigned shortly after the insurrection, which left one Capitol Police officer dead and plenty of others injured or dealing with mental health challenges in the wake of the attack. Two other officers who responded to the attacks died by suicide.
The board conducted a national search for a new chief while Yogananda Pittman, a 20-year veteran of the force, served as acting police chief for the agency. During her six months at the helm, Pittman focused on bolstering the security around the Capitol complex and addressing failures within the department during the insurrection.
All eyes will be on Manger as he starts the role. The Capitol Police union has been highly critical of the department's leadership and its handling of the attack and the spread of COVID among officers. Gus Papathanasiou, the union's chairman, told DCist in an email in February: "The continued systemic failures of this Department is unacceptable and the congressional community as well as the officers that put their lives on the line every day deserve better than being led by inept chiefs of police."
A former "Washingtonian of the Year," Manger was critical of Donald Trump's rhetoric on law enforcement that condoned rough treatment of people in custody. He wrote in The Washington Post: "While any elected official can give his or her views on how the police should do their jobs, it is the actions of police officers that speak directly to who we are."
The board lauded Manger's "commitment to listening, fairness and transparency" and said he'll help rebuild trust among Capitol Police officers and employees.
"Congress is fortunate to have a seasoned decision-maker who will lead with integrity, draw on his regional experience in strengthening partnerships with law enforcement partners, and make intelligence-based security decisions," the board said.
This story is from DCist.com, the local news website of WAMU.