Callahan on limited response by Capitol Police: ‘It’s a difficult balance’

State Police Superintendent Col. Pat Callahan at the briefing.

New Jersey State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan said he wasn’t interested in Monday-morning quarterbacking the crowd control efforts by law enforcement at the U.S. Capitol building Wednesday, but he said he didn’t understand why there may have been a reluctance to arrest more of the crowd that enter the building.

Callahan, speaking on Yahoo Finance, said he felt the officers were overwhelmed by the numbers.

“It’s a difficult balance when you’re in that situation,” he said. “I have been in those situations, and the key is to try and keep not only the public safe, but to keep the law enforcement officers (safe).”

Callahan said that, if an officer breaks the integrity of the line, a mob mentality could take over and one person could quickly be under assault by 30 or 40 people.

There are reports of approximately 50 or so arrests thus far, but that number is expected to rise after federal officials review footage of the incident.

Later in the day Thursday, Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund announced his resignation. In addition, reports said one of Sund’s officers had died as a result of Wednesday’s events.

Callahan said New Jersey State Police have sent 74 officers to Washington, D.C., answering a request by Mayor Muriel Bowser. Callahan said the officers are likely to serve in crowd control and traffic control responsibilities.

Callahan also confirmed that the state will send 500 National Guard troops Saturday and said he expects them to remain there through the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20.

More news from Thursday:

Health metrics

Gov. Phil Murphy reported New Jersey had its highest number of positive COVID-19 cases Thursday, with 6,314 new positive cases. And, while there can be debate over the significance of the number (because it’s tied to the number of tests given), there can be no doubt about fatalities.

New Jersey reported 123 confirmed COVID-19 fatalities, bringing the overall number to 17,587 confirmed deaths. In reality, that number is closer to 20,000, as the state said an additional 2,059 deaths are most likely COVID-related.

Final word

Murphy on the uprising at our nation’s capital.

“Make no mistake — yesterday was no accident. It was the result of four years of gaslighting and concerted attempts from within to weaken our democracy. But our democracy proved more resilient than the deranged conspiracy theories. God bless America.”