Capitol Police teams were lacking in weapons certifications

The U.S. Capitol Police had potentially deadly training deficiencies on one of the force’s most lethal weapons, yet another issue that has come to light since the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol.

The Containment Emergency Response Team (CERT) failed to comply with weapons certifications and the department’s First Responders Unit was not required to be certified in the M4 high-powered rifle, a weapon they carry, according to Capitol Police Inspector General Michael A. Bolton in his fourth flash report to Congress.

Bolton testified Tuesday on that report before the House Administration Committee.

“The report mentions CERT officers failed to complete the required qualifications on their assigned weapons from 2018 to 2020,” Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., said. “Twenty-nine CERT officers are required to meet quarterly qualifications on handguns. Twenty-two of the 29 failed to meet those.”

Asked by Aguilar, the vice chairman of the Democratic Conference, if there were any repercussions for the CERT officers who did not meet their weapons qualifications, Bolton said he knew of no actions taken against the officers.

Bolton, a former Secret Service agent, said officers at that agency would not “be operational” if they had not met their weapons qualification requirements.

Bolton recommended the department immediately enforce weapons qualification requirements for CERT officers on all assigned weapons.

He also recommended the First Responders Unit train together on M4 long rifle tactics and that the Capitol Police department establish a policy mandating officers in the First Responder Unit be certified on the M4 rifle. The First Responders Unit carry this rifle when standing on post or at the barriers.

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