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How the U.S.'s security tactics changed following the Jan. 6 riots

The country reflects one year later
Capitol Riot Images of the Day
Posted at 3:00 AM, Jan 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-06 09:57:09-05

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, President Joe Biden will deliver remarks and lawmakers will pause for a moment of silence at the Capitol to reflect on the one-year mark since the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol.

But how have security tactics changed in the past year? Not just in D.C. but across the country?

A DIFFERENT CAPITOL POLICE

"The United States Capitol Police as an organization is stronger and better prepared," Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger said during a press conference this week.

More than 30 recommendations for security upgrades have already been implemented, with another 60 set for implementation soon.

Already, the Capitol Police has more funding than it did a year ago, with new staff focused on improving how to secure large-scale events.

Officers now have been issued cell phones. Before, they relied on radios and personal numbers, which failed at times on Jan. 6.

Officers also receive intelligence briefings each day on their phones to better understand threats.

The Capitol police can also now request National Guard assistance on their own. Before, they needed approval from others.

Congress has also approved a $300 million upgrade to the building's windows and camera systems.

NOT JUST CONGRESS

It's not just the U.S. Capitol that has evolved over the past year.

Many state and local governments are changing, taking the threat of domestic terrorism more seriously.

"I think it was a wake-up call," said Gary Lafree, who runs the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Response to Terrorism.

According to the Pentagon, nearly 100 active service members engaged in some form of extremism last year. New military rules now ban service members from re-tweeting or liking extreme posts.

More than a dozen rioters were current or former police officers.

In the state of Washington, a new law requires an extremism background check for recruits.

"Fighting international terrorism is like removing a tumor, while fighting domestic terrorism is more like dealing with a virus," Lafree said.

In Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis has requested $4.5 million to improve his state capitol's security. Michigan's governor — the subject of a 2020 extremist kidnapping plot — got security upgrades at her home before the Jan. 6 attack.

But still, threats remain.

New polling by the Washington Post and the University of Maryland found that 19% of Americans believe the Jan. 6 attack was "mostly peaceful," with 34% of the country believing violent action against the government is justified at times.