By Luke Barr, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — The United States Capitol Police union is urging Congress to ramp up security around the Capitol, days after a an officer was killed outside the building, they said in a statement on Saturday.
“This attack, combined with the violent events of the January 6th insurrection, have left our officers reeling,” Union Chairman Gus Papathanasiou said.
Capitol Police officer William “Billy” Evans, an 18-year veteran, died of his injuries after a suspect rammed their car into the north barricade of the Capitol complex Friday afternoon before attacking officers with a knife, police said.
“Evans was well respected within the department and his loss will not be forgotten,” Papathanasiou said. “People should also know he was more than a police officer protecting the Capitol – he was a husband and a loving father to two children. Please keep the entire Evans family in your prayers as they go through this difficult time.”
He said that officers are back at work after Friday’s attack, keeping the Capitol safe.
“We have now lost two officers in the line of duty this year. Another officer has taken his own life and we have 80 officers who were seriously injured in the insurrection. Some of those injured officers may never return to duty,” Papathanasiou said.
He explained that the union has already met with General Honore, who conducted the review of Capitol security after the Jan. 6 insurrection.
“We support General Honoré recommendations and had the opportunity to meet with him and his team the day before Officer Evans was tragically killed,” Papathanasiou said. “As I explained to him, these improvements are critical, but our first priority has to be retaining our existing officers. There are immediate steps Congress can take to address this.”
He also noted that over 500 officers are set to retire in the next three to five years, and many younger officers have approached him about leaving for other departments.
“I could not be prouder of them. They continue to work even as we rapidly approach a crisis in morale and force numbers,” he said. “We are struggling to meet existing mission requirements even with the officers working massive amounts of forced overtime.”
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