Established in 1828, the Capitol Police have worked to maintain an environment that is both secure and open to the public and to preserve the public’s right to peacefully assemble and petition their elected Representatives.
The police changed with the times. A handful of armed guards in the early days developed into a professionally trained force. Practices changed with the security environment at large, too. In the 1940s, as seen in this photo, efforts to monitor who entered the Capitol were stepped up during World War II.
The Capitol Police evolved to become more inclusive. Arva Marie Johnson, who joined the force in 1974, recounts her experience as the first uniformed female officer in the Capitol Police.
Changes in the security environment of the late 20th and early 21st centuries created another turning point for the Capitol Police. Bomb incidents and a knife attack in the 1970s and 1980s led to identification badges for staff and routine security screenings at entry points by the early 1990s. The following decade, Hill staff created lapel buttons like this, expressing appreciation for the efforts of the police to maintain safety after September 11, 2001, and subsequent anthrax mailings to the Capitol.