Capitol Police Responds to Norton Request that Emergency Alerts be Sent to D.C. Residents

Feb 16, 2021
Press Release

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