For Immediate Release

February 8, 2022


WASHINGTON – At the weekly Republican leadership press conference today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), Co-Chair of the Senate Law Enforcement Caucus, discussed the alarming number of police officer vacancies at police departments across the nation, including the U.S. Capitol Police and police departments in Missouri.

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Following Are Blunt’s Remarks:

“I asked the Chief of the Capitol Police to come in today and talk about their short-term response to the overwhelming hours that officers have been working. We’re about 200 officers below the authorized level of around 2,000 officers. One hundred and thirty-five or so officers retired last year, which is about 50% higher than retirements in recent years. And, obviously, that’s a problem.

“The contract employees, for a short time, may be part of the answer to that problem. But it’s not just a problem in the Capitol Police Department. You know, in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County … retirements were up about 60% last year over the average of the previous four years.

“My hometown, Springfield, Missouri, is looking for 40 officers. Columbia, Missouri, a department of 187, looking for 20 officers.

“We’re going to do what we can here to work with the Capitol Police problem. But I think this problem is clearly a lot bigger than the Capitol Police, starting with defunding the police and prosecutors who pledged not to prosecute crimes in certain areas or certain crimes. Police officers increasingly becoming victims of crime is a huge problem.

“All of us see the Capitol Police every day, know how critical they are to our ability to function here. It’s a problem all over the country. We’re doing our best to try to think of new ways to solve that problem.”

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