Longtime law enforcement veteran J. Thomas Manger came out of retirement on Friday to formally take command of the embattled U.S. Capitol Police force, which continues to grapple with fallout from the Jan. 6 violent protests tied to President Trump’s challenge to the 2020 election.
J. Thomas Manger, who has led police departments in Maryland and Virginia, said he was “humbled and honored” to join the force, despite the long list of tough decisions that lie ahead.
“The challenges in protecting the Capitol campus, and everyone who works or visits there, have never been more complex,” Chief Manger said in a statement. “It is now my job to ensure that they have the resources and support to continue to fulfill their mission in an ever increasingly difficult job.”
The new chief has more than 40 years of policing experience. He most recently led the police department in suburban Maryland’s Montgomery County for 15 years until he retired in 2019. He has also served as president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association and as vice president of the Police Executive Research Forum.
U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) officials say Chief Manger’s expertise and broad experience in law enforcement will help the agency as it works to boost both security around the Capitol and trust among those who protect it.
“The Congress is fortunate to have a seasoned decision-maker who will lead with integrity, draw on his regional experience in strengthening partnerships with law enforcement partners, and make intelligence-based security decisions,” USCP said in a statement Thursday.
The agency added that his “commitment to listening, fairness and transparency will be key in rebuilding trust amongst USCP sworn officers and civilian employees.”
Morale within the 2,300-strong Capitol Police force has been severely strained in the months following the attack on the Capitol. In February, the U.S. Capitol Police Labor Committee overwhelmingly approved a “no-confidence” vote critical of senior leadership for the “mishandling” of the events of Jan. 6. The union represents about 1,050 officers.
At least 92% of the members backed a “no confidence” vote critical of then-acting Chief Yogananda Pittman. That number was even higher, at 96%, for former Assistant Chief Chad Thomas and for Capt. Ben Smith, 97%.
Chief Manger replaced Chief Pittman, who took over the position after then-Chief Steven Sund resigned following the Capitol attack.
In a statement Friday, the USCP Board thanked former Chief Pittman “for her dedication and focused effort over the last six months to enhance security around the Capitol Complex and begin the hard work of implementing lessons learned from January 6.”