The first announced two field offices will open in California and Florida, with additional states expected in the “near future,” acting USCP Chief Yogananda Pittman said in a statement Tuesday. The purpose will be “to investigate threats to Members of Congress.”
In a follow-up statement to Fox News, USCP revealed the new offices will be in the Tampa and San Francisco areas because that’s where many of the threats are concentrated and more offices are on the way.
“The new USCP field offices will be in the Tampa and San Francisco areas. At this time, Florida and California are where the majority of our potential threats are,” the U.S. Capitol Police statement to Fox News said. “The field offices will be the first for the Department. A regional approach to investigating and prosecuting threats against Members is important, so we will be working closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in those locations. More field offices will be opening in the future.”
The expansion of the Capitol Police presence beyond Washington D.C. is part of a greater effort to protect lawmakers in their home districts in the face of increased concerns for their safety. The police reported in May that there’s been a 107% increase in threats to members of Congress compared to 2020 and predicted no let-up in sight.
In response, USCP also increased staffing for its Dignitary Protection Division and enhanced its coordination with local law enforcement to protect members of Congress when they are home, the police said.
California and Florida are two of the largest states in the country and therefore have two of the largest congressional delegations, including senior ranking party leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. Pelosi, who was targeted by the Jan. 6 rioters, resides in San Francisco where one of the offices will be located.
Members of Congress have reported having to take extra security precautions at their homes in response to the increased threat level. In one instance, Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., had to call the police in Charleston after her house was vandalized over Memorial Day weekend with profanity and anarchist symbols.
USCP’s Pittman announced Tuesday an array of steps the police have taken since the Jan. 6 riot to better protect the Capitol, increase training and to beef up equipment and communication capabilities.
“Throughout the last six months, the United States Capitol Police has been working around the clock with our Congressional stakeholders to support our officers, enhance security around the Capitol Complex, and pivot towards an intelligence-based protective agency,” Pittman said.
Florida GOP Rep. Kat Cammack, who is married to a first responder, praised the work of the Capitol Police and their recent expansion to her home state.
“Over the last six months, I’ve had the honor of getting to know the dedicated men and women of the United States Capitol Police,” Cammack, who represents the Gainsville area, told Fox News. “The hardworking law enforcement officers of the Capitol Hill community work tirelessly to protect Members and staff and I know their work in this capacity will only continue, especially as they expand into field offices in California and Florida.
“As we continue serving our districts, it’s reassuring to know they’ll continue working with local police departments and sheriffs to keep lawmakers and our communities as safe as possible.”