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. Hanee, COMMITTEE ON
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
H. R. 8540
A BILL TO AUTHORIZE AN INCREASE IN THE
WHITE HOUSE POLICE FORCE
MARCH 6, 1940
Printed for the use of the
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS
FRITZ G. LANHAM, Texas, Chairman EUGENE B. CROWE, Indiana
PEHR G. HOLMES, Massachusetts C. JASPER BELL, Missouri
CLYDE H. SMITH, Maine CHARLES A. BUCKLEY, New York
ALBERT G. RUTHERFORD, Pennsylvania FRANK W. BOYKIN, Alabama
JOHN C. SCHAFER, Wisconsin MICHAEL J. KIRWAN, Ohio
THOMAS R. BALL, Connecticut
EDWIN A. HALL, New York
ALBERT W. Woods, Clerk
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
BAR 19 40
PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS—NO. 1
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6, 1940
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Washington, D. C. The committee met at 10:30 a. m., Hon. Fritz G. Lanham (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order.
We have met for the consideration of H. R. 8540, a bill to authorize an increase in the White House police force. Without objection, it will be set out as introduced, at this point in the record.
(The bill referred to is as follows:)
(H. R. 8540, 76th Cong., 3d sess.)
A BILL To authorize an increase in the White House police force Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That subsection (a) of section 2 of the Act entitled “An Act to create the White House police force, and for other purposes”, approved September 14, 1922 (42 Stat. 841, as amended; U. S. C., Supp. IV, title 3, sec. 62), is hereby amended to read as follows:
"Sec. 2. (a) The White House police force shall consist of one captain with grade corresponding to that of captain (Metropolitan Police), two lieutenants with grade corresponding to that of lieutenant (Metropolitan Police), four sergeants with grade corresponding to that of sergeant (Metropolitan Police): and of such number of privates, with grade corresponding to that of private of the highest grade (Metropolitan Police), as may be necessary, but not exceeding seventythree in number. Members of the White House police shall be appointed from the members of the Metropolitan Police force and the United States Park Police force from lists furnished by the officers in charge of such forces. Vacancies shall be filled in the same manner.
The CHAIRMAN. Under date of February 14, 1940, the following letter was sent to the Speaker of the House of Representatives by Mr. Gaston, as Acting Secretary of the Treasury:
SIR: There is transmitted herewith a proposed bill to authorize an increase in the White House police force.
At present, the White House police force is limited to 1 captain, 1 lieutenant, 3 sergeants, and 55 privates by subsection (a) of section 2 of the act entitled "An act to create the White House police force, and for other purposes," approved September 14, 1922 (42 Stat. 841), as amended (U. S. C., Sup. IV, title 3, sec. 62). The proposed bill would further amend such act so as to authorize an increase in the force as shown in the following table: Present force: Proposed increase:
1 Lieutenants. 2
73 20 60
80 215848-40-No. 1
Recently, it was found to be necessary to establish a number of new posts. about the Executive Mansion and Grounds, and since the present police force is too small to insure adequate protection under the new policy, the Treasury Department recommends the enactment of this proposed bill. The Chief of the Secret Service Division will be glad to explain in detail to the appropriate committee the need for this legislation.
It is requested that you lay this proposed bill before the House of Representatives. A similar bill has been transmitted to the President of the Senate.
The Treasury Department has been advised by the Bureau of the Budget that there is no objection to the submission of this proposed legislation to the Congress.
This communication was submitted to me by the Speaker and, accordingly, on February 19, I introduced the bill that we now have before us for consideration, and the bill is in the exact form as recommended by the Acting Secretary of the Treasury, accompanying the letter he sent to the Speaker.
I will say that I have made inquiry also of the District Commissioners to see if they wished to make a report upon this measure, and they said they were leaving the matter entirely up to the Treasury Department and that whatever it recommended would be satisfactory to them.
Now we have some distinguished gentlemen as our guests this morning who have come to appear with reference to this bill, and I will let the spokesman indicate whom they wish to be heard first.
STATEMENT OF FRANK J. WILSON, CHIEF OF THE UNITED STATES
Mr. Wilson. Mr. Chairman and members of this committee, first I might explain just briefly to you the functions of the White House police force. I am sure all of you have observed them at the White House and are probably proud of the appearance that they have made. But you have never had any time to seriously consider all of their functions, and I would like to explain them briefly.
In the first place, they have to perform the usual duties of any police organization handling traffic and crowds. In the second place, they have a great responsibility in connection with the fire hazards at the Executive Mansion. That is a very old building and we must do everything in our power to protect it from fire and to protect the very valuable furnishings that are in the building.
Our men are well trained in fire prevention and are well capable to perform such functions.
In the third place, they assist the Secret Service in the protection of the President and members of his family. That function is delegated by the Congress to the United States Secret Service, and the Congress has established a White House police force under the supervision of the Secret Service. They are a valuable adjunct to the Secret Service.
In addition to that, they must be prepared to properly function in the event that a large group, or a disorderly crowd, should suddenly appear at the White House, and be able to handle them in a very efficient manner but in a courteous manner, without causing too much excitement.
Inasmuch as they have all of those important functions, we try to secure the
best men available and we have men recruited from the Metropolitan Police Department and the National Park Service..
The Metropolitan Police Department permits us to pick their fine young men who are alert and able to perform their duties in an efficient
That, briefly, will give you a better idea than you have had heretofore with reference to their duties.
The CHAIRMAN. May I ask you a few questions?
The CHAIRMAN. Once before, I think, during the time I have been serving as chairman of this committee, a slight increase was made in this force. This statement from the Acting Secretary of the Treasury indicates that there are more posts now requiring service of this character than heretofore.
Could you appropriately indicate what some of those posts are, or whether or not the force has been inadequate heretofore, or what additional circumstances have arisen to make it necessary to increase the force?
Mr. Wilson. We have here a photostat showing the posts as they are and their locations on the White House grounds.
The CHAIRMAN. How many shifts do you have down there?
Mr. Wilson. We have three shifts, the day shift, the early night shift, and the shift from midnight until 8 in the morning. At the present time, we have 24 men on the day shift, 19 men on the shift from 4 p. m. until midnight, and 12 men on the shift from midnight to 8 in the morning. That is a total of 60, and, as you will note, the present commitment of the uniformed force is 60 men, but about October 1 of last year we recognized that there was a certain increased hazard at the White House that we felt it our duty to guard against immediately.
After seriously considering the matter and going before the Bureau of the Budget, it was decided that we should have additional protection there, and we have secured 20 men from the Metropolitan Police Department. So that, at the present time, there are 80 men functioning there, instead of 60.
The CHAIRMAN. Then the passage of this bill would not effect the transfer of any men from the White House force back to the Metropolitan Police force?
Mr. Wilson. No, but it would permit the Metropolitan Police force to increase their force by about 20.
The CHAIRMAN. The papers recently have indicated that there has been a sort of crime wave in Washington, and an inadequate police force.
Mr. Wilson. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Action on this bill of a favorable nature, of course, would relate only to the White House Grounds, and, while it would relieve the situation at the White House, it would not relieve the situation in the city generally, would it?
Mr. Wilson. It would help the Metropolitan Police Department to a certain extent because, at the present time, we have 20 of their men who are detailed at the White House.
The CHAIRMAN. Would this release those 20 men to go back to the Metropolitan Police Department?
Mr. Wilson. No. We would probably keep them, but it would permit the Metropolitan Police Department to get 20 men in their place.