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Jan. 6: How strong is Capitol security now?



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It was a protracted street from killing bugs to battling protesters on the entrance strains of Jan. 6, 2021.

As a younger husband, Dennis Kelly was working as an exterminator to pay the payments when he determined to attempt to develop into a cop. He’d be good at it, he thought, and it sounded cool. His spouse’s view was much less rosy; her dad had been a chaplain for a police division, and law enforcement officials would come to their dwelling to get counseling. She noticed what they went by, what they grappled with afterward. However she supported her husband’s resolution. 

Mr. Kelly took the New Jersey civil service examination and tried discovering a job with native police departments, however some officer’s relative at all times appeared to get employed as a substitute. So he received his begin in a brand new federal detention heart in Philadelphia. A 12 months later, 9/11 hit. Legislation enforcement officers had been in demand. He noticed a “sizzling jobs” icon on a authorities web site and clicked. It was a Capitol Police place. 

Why We Wrote This

Capitol Police has applied dozens of suggestions because the 2021 assault caught its power off guard. However some say a deeper cultural shift is required to guard the Capitol and those that work there, together with officers.

“I assumed, ‘Oh, Capitol Hill – I’ll by no means get employed, however what the heck, I’ll apply for it,’” he remembers. Now a retired lieutenant, he nonetheless remembers the awe he felt when he first entered an space of the 200-year-old constructing closed to the general public. And he remembers the sense of honor he felt in upholding fellow residents’ First Modification rights, regardless of how drained his toes received on the 12-hour shifts.

Christa Case Bryant/The Christian Science Monitor

Lt. Dennis Kelly, seen right here together with his spouse, Katherine, in La Plata, Maryland. He retired from the Capitol Police in April 2022 after practically twenty years with the division. He led a Civil Disturbance Unit platoon on the West Entrance of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, serving to to defend a key decrease door towards a second breach of the Capitol.

“Protesting is a part of the American material, and I used to be at all times proud that I had a small half in ensuring folks had a proper to say what they needed to say,” says Lieutenant Kelly. That’s a part of what harm a lot on Jan. 6, when protesters attacked him and his platoon on the West Entrance of the Capitol with flag poles, baseball bats, bear spray, bolts – something they might get their fingers on. “I felt like, ‘I’m serving to you to protest and redress your authorities.’”

Like so many others, he was blindsided by the assault, carried out by a number of the similar sorts of people that normally waved “Again the Blue” flags and professed their love for police.