Watchdog: After security officer shooting, Washington cops didn’t overhaul security system enough

WASHINGTON — The Washington Metropolitan Police Department has not made enough changes since a deadly shooting at the U.S. Capitol last January to eliminate chances of future fatal police-to-security officer shootings, according to a watchdog report released Monday.

The report from Citizens Against Government Waste, which examines government spending, said the Capitol Police Officers’ Association in March downgraded changes recommended by its security consultants in response to the shooting of a police officer and a Capitol Hill security contractor by a convicted felon.

The shooting occurred near the Capitol in January 2017. The officer, David Bailey, survived the shooting, but Capitol Police Officer Crystal Griner died after falling into a water pit and being cut in the legs during the rescue.

The reviews by consulting firm IOQ found the Capitol Police and its rooftop security cameras did not work properly at the time of the shooting. It also said the surveillance center did not get warnings about the shots fired from officers on the ground. The review also noted police actions that did not result in officers shooting and wounding the perpetrator.

But in its response to IOQ, the officers’ union downgraded the most significant changes IOQ made to the department’s security systems, the report said.

In response to the shooting, Capitol Police Commissioner Matthew Verderosa installed infrared night vision and used security camera footage to help with the investigation of the incident. The union wanted to retain video footage for public display and make changes that might prompt a criminal or civil case — proposals that IOQ said were “more appropriate to current standards in law enforcement.”

The union also declined to amend the shooting procedures for how to respond to attacks in which officers were ambushed or shot at while assisting another officer. That could have involved calling for additional resources to replace the current responder kit, but the union wanted more oversight of how those resources were used.

The union also declined to provide a report to IOQ from the former sergeant who directed the department’s tactical team. That report should have included times when tactical teams were called and how they were responded to.

The watchdog recommended changes including installing bullet-resistant doors and extra communication equipment, as well as more frequent use of force and special de-escalation training for officers.

The chairman of the officers’ union, Mike Marshall, didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the report Monday. But union president Jim Konczos told the Post in February the police union supported several of the recommendations.

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