WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said if someone had told him where he'd be today as he prepared to retire as Montgomery County's Police Chief in 2019, he'd say. 'No way.'
"In fact, if you'd asked me on Jan. 5 would I be here, I would've said, 'I'm very happy being retired,'" Manger said. "But Jan. 6 changed that."
Manger, sworn in a Capitol Police Chief Friday, said Monday he knows there's much work ahead reforming a force still grappling with an insurrection that left the Capitol overrun and dozens of officers injured. When asked about morale, he did not make generalizations about how officers are feeling today.
"Morale is always one of those topics where I say it's in the eye of the beholder," he said. "The cops here went through something very traumatic on Jan. 6 and I think many of them are still feeling the impact from that day,"
According to the police union, more than 70 officers had left the force as of May, and sources say others are looking to leave. Manger says recruiting is tough, but believes there are others like himself motivated to protect Congress and the Constitution following Jan. 6.
He said he's monitoring intelligence on other potential threats, including a conspiracy theory that President Trump will be reinstated in August.
"We're certainly making sure we're prepared for whatever might happen," he said. "Folks have asked me, 'Could Jan. 6 happen again?' and I think it would be foolish to say that it couldn't. But I do know for a fact that we're better prepared."
When asked if he has any real concerns regarding intelligence, he said not only does it need to be taken seriously, but an action plan is needed.
Manger said while Capitol Police is better prepared than six months ago, they are not where they need to be yet. He said top priorities are staffing, training, equipment and putting new policies in place. A Congressional report created a blueprint for needed change.
The former police chief and assistant chief were ousted following Jan. 6 and when asked if he would remove any other leaders, he said he has faith in his leadership team and is confident they can move forward together.
When asked if there was any message he'd like to give the public, Manger said: "The message I'd want to give the public is, you're doing a disservice to the men and woman of this department by defining them by Jan. 6. And if you look at their body of work before and body of work after, I'm very proud of the work they do."
Watch the full interview here.