Whistleblower website for Capitol Police officers launches

U.S. Capitol Police officers in gear, stand with the dome of the Capitol in the background as people gather at Union Square near the Capitol Reflecting Pool, facing the West Front of the U.S. Capitol Building for the “Justice for J6 Rally” Sept. 18. Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/TNS

WASHINGTON — House Administration Committee ranking member Rodney Davis on Monday announced the launch of a webpage for Capitol Police officers to confidentially report problems affecting the department directly to the committee, which has oversight of the police force.

“This committee has a responsibility to the men and women who protect the Capitol to provide oversight of their leadership and part of this is hearing from officers and other personnel when issues arise,” Davis, R-Ill., said in a statement.

The online intake form provides a space for officers and staff of the Capitol Police and House sergeant-at-arms to report problems directly to the committee’s GOP staff. To protect the privacy of officers, the form cautions them against submitting complaints using work resources or while working.

The website also provides the option for officers to meet in person, call or email the committee to report misconduct.

“To be honest, I think it’s a way towards transparency,” said Gus Papathanasiou, the head of the department’s union. He later added, “If Rodney Davis wants to do it, I support it.”

Anyone can submit complaints to Capitol Police Inspector General Michael A. Bolton’s office, but the new site gives officers another avenue to raise issues with the committee staff.

The Capitol Police department has been thrust into the forefront after failing to fortify the Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection and the fallout that came from a lack of planning. Even before that spotlight, the force struggled with systemic failures and a shortfall of accountability. The department’s inspector general reports are still unavailable to the public, and the force is shielded from the Freedom of Information Act, but Davis sees the new venue as a step in the right direction.

“I know not every rank-and-file officer or employee is comfortable with speaking out publicly about these issues, but it’s important we hear from them, and this provides a confidential way for them to do that,” Davis said. “We’ve needed greater transparency and accountability within our security system for a long time, and hopefully this will help.”

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