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Gary L. Abrecht, Chief, United States Capitol Police testimony to the
U.S. House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, Subcommittee on the District of Columbia
May 8, 1998




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Testimony of Gary L. Abrecht, Chief, United States Capitol Police
before the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, Subcommittee on the District of Columbia
May 8, 1998

Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, it is an honor to appear before you today to discuss the involvement of the U.S. Capitol Police in anti-crime efforts in the District of Columbia and the level of cooperation and coordination with the Metropolitan Police Department.

For many years, the United States Capitol Police has worked closely with the Metropolitan Police, particularly within the First District which surrounds our primary jurisdiction. I have a unique perspective on this relationship because, prior to becoming the Chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, I served as Captain of the Metropolitan Police First District Sub-station and then Commander of the First District.

During my tenure as Chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, I have seen the level of cooperation and assistance between these two police departments continue to develop and strengthen. In 1992, the Congress granted the U.S. Capitol Police full law enforcement authority in the area immediately surrounding the Capitol Complex, which is commonly known as the Extended Jurisdiction Zone. Prior to the enactment of this legislation, our officers were limited as to the level of law enforcement action they could take to assist citizens or arrest violators outside of the confines of the Capitol Complex.

The Extended Jurisdiction Zone encompasses many outlying Congressional facilities where we have primary responsibility for security and police services. This area is bounded by H Street to the north, Seventh Street to the east, Potomac Avenue to the south, and Third Street to the west. Although the Metropolitan Police retains primary responsibility for police services within the Extended Jurisdiction Zone, the U.S. Capitol Police maintains a presence in the area in the routine performance of our mission.

In 1994, the U.S. Capitol Police participated in a federal law enforcement assistance initiative which was organized and directed by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. The U.S. Capitol Police pledged to assist the Metropolitan Police by jointly responding to calls for service in the Extended Jurisdiction Zone, providing canine and crime scene search officers as needed, and transporting and processing prisoners. I am pleased to report that, after four years, our Department is still committed to providing this level of assistance. To facilitate the interaction between the agencies, Metropolitan Police radios have been installed in our scout cars and our radios have been installed in their First District and Special Operations Division cruisers. This allows officers on the street to exchange information and coordinate their response to calls for service. In addition, officials from both Departments routinely meet to discuss crime statistics and any issues which require special attention.

While our primary focus will always be providing law enforcement, security, and protective operations within the Capitol Complex, we can assist in anti-crime efforts in the surrounding neighborhoods through enforcement and deterrence. Thus far in Fiscal Year 1998, the U.S. Capitol Police has made 413 arrests in the Extended Jurisdiction Zone. We have also taken 127 police reports and responded to 47 requests for assistance from the Metropolitan Police.

From the outset, the goal of the U.S. Capitol Police has been to supplement the efforts of the Metropolitan Police and be a good neighbor to citizens and business owners on Capitol Hill. To foster this relationship, our officers routinely attend community meetings and participate in civic activities. In June, we are providing a self-defense seminar to instruct area residents how to protect themselves in threatening situations.

The spirit of support and cooperation which exists between the U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police is important to both agencies and the citizens of the District of Columbia. I congratulate Chief Ramsey on his appointment and I look forward to working with him and his commanders as we continue to address issues of mutual concern.

Mr. Chairman, thank you the opportunity to appear before the Committee today. I will be pleased to answer any questions you or the other members of the Committee may have.

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