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Congressman Dan Lungren says Congress needs to tap local cops for security

Congressman Dan Lungren.
Congressman Dan Lungren.
Kitty Felde/KPCC

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On Wednesday, members of Congress will receive a security briefing from Capitol Police on steps they can take to better protect themselves.

The challenge is protecting hundreds of members at a time when the federal budget is shrinking.

The reality is that 435 House members and a hundred senators aren’t going to get the kind of security provided to the president of the United States. That’s according to Republican Congressman Dan Lungren, who heads the House Administration Committee which oversees the Capitol Police.

The Sacramento-area Republican says members should tap their local police and sheriff’s departments. "There’s far more law enforcement at the local and state level than there is in the federal force," he says. "Local law enforcement usually has their ear to the ground much better than any other law enforcement entity. Utilizing them in an appropriate way makes the most sense."

Lungren says law enforcement in his district always provide an armed, uniformed officer free of charge at his town halls. He admits cash-strapped departments in other areas might have to charge congressional members for their time. That’s an expense many members likely hadn’t expected when they voted last week to cut their office budgets by 5 percent.