Capitol Police Responds to Norton Request that Emergency Alerts be Sent to D.C. Residents
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today thanked Acting Chief of U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) Yogananda Pittman for her response to Norton’s January 28 letter asking that USCP send emergency alerts to the D.C. communities surrounding the Capitol. In her response, Pittman said USCP will explore ways to deliver these alerts.
“I thank Acting Chief Pittman for her prompt response to my letter,” Norton said. “I appreciate her exploring ways to keep D.C. informed and safe in case of future events like the violence and emergencies of January 6. My recent town hall with Capitol Hill residents only increased my determination to make certain that residents who live close to the Capitol are informed and alerted. Since these alerts are already sent to Capitol employees , it should not be a great effort to send them to affected D.C. residents. I look forward to working with her further on this issue.”
Acting Chief Pittman’s response to Norton’s letter is below.
The Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton
United States House of Representatives
2136 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D. C. 20510
Dear Congresswoman Norton,
Thank you for your letter dated January 28, 2021 regarding communications with the
communities surrounding the Capitol Complex. As we discussed over the phone when we spoke
Friday, January 29th, the USCP will explore ways to communicate information to surrounding
communities regarding its activity if and when it is impactful.
As was discussed, Alert DC, operated by D.C.’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management
Agency, is the official District of Columbia communications system that sends emergency alerts,
notifications, and updates to subscribers via text and email. This information is provided directly
from the District of Columbia’s public safety officials and emergency manager to anyone who
signs up. Recipients in that system may self-select what type of messages to receive, such
traffic, police events impacting public safety, widespread power and water utility outages, city
government delays, and closings.
While there are multiple public-facing alert systems, Alert DC seems to be the most logical
system for the Department to coordinate joint messaging. To that end, the Department will be
reaching out to the DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency to determine
the feasibility of sending community notices via their system.
Again, thank you for contacting the Department.
Yogananda D. Pittman
Acting Chief of U.S. Capitol Police