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U.S. Capitol Police Announce Yogananda Pittman As Acting Chief



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A member of the Cambridge-South Dorchester Class of 1991, Yogananda D. Pittman, has been appointed Acting Chief of the U.S. Capitol Police.

Pittman moved into the post after the resignation of former chief Steven A. Sund following last week’s breach of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump.

The appointment was met with congratulations from many who knew her during her time in Cambridge. But that support was not found among the officers of the force, who demanded on Jan. 7 not only the resignation of Mr. Sund, but also of other senior commanders, including then-Assistant Chief Pittman.

Chief Pittman’s promotion to assistant chief was announced among others on Oct. 20, 2019. At that time, Mr. Sund said, “These commanders are committed to our mission and to the Department. The wealth of knowledge and experience they each bring to their new positions will assist us in continuing to raise the bar as we address new and emerging threats, ensure our operational readiness, and develop and implement new strategic goals and objectives.”

Additionally, among her other educational achievements, Assistant Chief Pittman graduated from Morgan State University with a bachelor of science degree in psychology in 1991. She earned her master’s degree in public administration from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, in May 2019, and began working toward her Ph.D. in Public Administration from West Chester University.

Reactions to the Appointment of Pittman

On Jan. 9, Morgan University President David Wilson said, “This appointment is notable for our nation and our University, as she will be the first woman and first African American to hold the post of leading the USCP.”

Current Dorchester County Board of Education Member Laura Layton wrote on Facebook, “I taught her. Graduate of C-SD!! So proud of her. Incredible young woman.”

Teacher Mike Hughes wrote, “I remember Yogi from high school, just wanted to make sure it was the same one! Awesome! Don’t know whether I’m happy or scared to death for her, but represent for Groove!!!”

Speaking for Heritage

In February of 2020, Yogananda D. Pittman came from Washington, D.C., to speak at a Black History Month event held at Dorchester Center for the Arts.

She told the audience she came from a family of modest means, and had lost both her parents by the time she reached her early teen years. But rather than surrender to difficulties and misfortune, she continued to expect the best from herself, while having positive role models to help show her the way.

“I never had to look past my living room to know what courage looked like,” she said.

“Dorchester County, your heritage is so great, so rich, all you have to do is carry on its traditions,” Asst. Chief Pittman said. And to the young people present, she then added, “It is your right to be successful.”

Her predecessor’s tenure had been brief. Mr. Sund took over in May 2019. The Capitol Police had also been dealing with claims of communications failures, gender discrimination and misconduct met with light punishment.

As part of the legislature, the force is not subject to Freedom of Information Act requests.

Pittman’s Promotions Survives Hurdles

Chief Pittman’s promotion survived not only the breach of the Capitol, but also the resistance of the officers she now commands.
Following the events of Jan. 6, the United States Capitol Police Labor Committee issued a statement calling for Mr. Sund’s resignation and for the resignations of Assistant Chief Chad Thomas and Assistant Chief Yogananda Pittman. The committee is part of the Fraternal Order of Police.

Union Chairman Gus Papathanasiou said in the statement, “Once the breach of the Capitol building was inevitable, we prioritized lives over property, leading people to safety. Not one member of Congress or their staff was injured. Our officers did their jobs. Our leadership did not.”

Mr. Papathanasiou then cited the June protest planning which saw the coordinated response of U.S. Capitol Police, the D.C. National Guard, the Metropolitan Police and others, which successfully safeguarded the entire Capitol complex.

“We have several protestors dead, multiple officers injured and the symbol of our democracy, the U.S. Capitol, desecrated. This should never have happened,” he said. “This lack of planning led to the greatest breach of the U.S. Capitol since the War of 1812. This is a failure of leadership at the very top,” he then stated.

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