According to reporting from the Los Angeles Times, the Capitol Police, best known at the police force responsible for guarding the United States capitol building in Washington, DC, are opening a field office in San Francisco.
The purpose? Investigating threats to the United States Capitol which originate on the West Coast, according to the Times’ reporting. It may seem strange for a police force responsible for protecting a building thousands of miles away to open an outpost in a Western city. But Californa has the largest congressional delegation, and protecting that delegation is a major reason for the police force to branch out to San Francisco.
A similar office is reportedly opening in Tampa, Florida, for the same purpose.
On January 6th, a notorious riot at the Capitol Building breached security and left five people dead, including members of the Capitol Police force. Other attacks this year left members of the force dead as well.
Included in sweeping changes to the Capitol Police, as well as revamping of security at the Capitol building more broadly, are new initiatives to seek out and investigate threats to the Capitol which originate elsewhere in the country. That will be the mandate of the San Francisco field office when it opens. The opening date is not yet known.
According to Forbes, there may be another reason for locating an office in San Francisco. California has a large congressional delegation to the United States Congress, but it also reportedly produces many threats to the capitol’s safety. The exact nature of those threats is not immediately clear, and many are likely under investigation.
In addition to forming field offices in places like San Francisco, Forbes reports that the Capitol Police force is also “acquiring new armor, weapons and surveillance equipment, a new recruitment effort, expanded wellness and counseling services for officers and increased training in leadership and riot control.”
In a May statement, Forbes reports, threats to the Capitol have increased over 100% over the last year. It’s unclear how the new San Francisco field office will work with local law enforcement to counter these threats, but this plan will likely develop as the office opens, is staffed, and begins investigations into emerging threats.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hails from the Bay Area, and is likely the target of some of the threats against congresspeople. It’s possible that the investigation of these threats is one of the reasons for establishing a San Francisco field office, although the specifics of the choice are unlikely to be divulged in order to ensure the integrity of any investigations the field office performs.
According to California Globe, San Francisco was also chosen because of the ease of traveling to the city by road or airplane (the Bay Area has three international airports, after all), and also having high ranking congressional officials, including both Pelosi and Dianne Feinstein, Vice President Kamala Harris (who is also President of the Senate) and Kevin McCarthy.
The exact location of the new office is not yet clear, but it will be located in San Francisco, likely downtown.
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