A permanent fence must be installed around the U.S. Capitol to prevent another attack such as the Jan. 6 riot by Trump supporters, the acting chief of U.S. Capitol Police said Thursday.
“In light of recent events, I can unequivocally say that vast improvements to the physical security infrastructure must be made to include permanent fencing and the availability of ready, back-up forces in close proximity to the Capitol,” acting Chief Yogananda Pittman said in a statement.
“I look forward to working with Congress on identifying the security improvements necessary to ensure the safety and security of the Congress and the U.S. Capitol,” Chief Pittman said.
Authorities erected an 8-foot-tall fence around the perimeter of the Capitol after the riot to guard against another possible attack during President Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted that the current fencing will be removed.
“When the time is right, the fencing around the White House and U.S. Capitol, just like the plywood we’ve seen on our businesses for too long, will be taken down,” Miss Bowser tweeted.
The creation of a permanent barrier would present new logistical challenges for security officials who must check in thousands of tourists and congressional staffers at the Capitol each day.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday met with security consultants to discuss additional safeguards in the wake of the riot.
Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, also complained that certain Republican lawmakers who carry guns or advocate violence are “the enemy within” the Capitol.
Lawmakers have consistently rejected proposals for fencing around the Capitol in the past, saying it would fundamentally change the character of the vast congressional complex.
In addition to being a major tourist attraction, the Capitol is a small city unto itself, with office buildings connected by pedestrian tunnels and subways.
There are still thousands of National Guard troops deployed at the Capitol, although many have been recalled to their home states since the inauguration.