By RON YORK
Tuesday the Visitors Center will be officially opened. Until now, the security of our most important national facility has been very difficult. It is a miracle that there has not been a major terror attack on the Cathedral of Democracy. The United States Capitol Police have been fighting to keep up with the growing security risks, while having almost impossible rules of engagement. The new Visitors Center will be a big improvement in security.
Unfortunately, this new facility comes too late for Detective John Gibson and Officer Jacob Chestnut. On July 24, 1998, these two Capitol Police officers lost their lives protecting the Capitol, my Capitol, your Capitol. No other police department has experienced the rapid changes that the Capitol Police Department has. Only twenty years ago the agency was a patronage security service. Today, it is on the front line of the fight against terror. Many of the older officers are dealing with much more than they bargained for when they were hired.
A giant leap forward was made under former Chief Terrance Gainer. The improvements continue with the current Chief, Phillip Morse. Both of these leaders are professional law enforcement officers. Chief Gainer is now the Sergeant at Arms in the United States Senate. We owe a lot to these two chiefs and the other members of the United States Capitol Police.
Call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to support the Capitol Police. To learn more, look at this brochure prepared last year for the Capitol Police by POLICEPAY.Net.