Dunn, who testified about enduring a “torrent” of racial abuse during the attack, came back to work on Jan. 7. Therapy has helped, Dunn said, especially as he and his colleagues work every day at the scene of the crime.
“I can’t avoid it. So you have to learn how to be able to handle all of that,” said Dunn, who ran unsuccessfully to lead the Capitol Police union last year.
The department says it’s expanded its wellness program after additional funding from Congress. Among other resources, 42 officers are trained to provide peer support, therapy dogs visit officers and spiritual support is available. Lawmakers renamed the Capitol Police’s wellness center for Officer Howard Liebengood, who died by suicide in the days after the attack.
Therapy, though, can’t always stop the pain from boiling over into frustration.
“While they’re getting 30 to 45 days,” Gonell said of some rioters’ jail sentences, “I’m going on more than 10 months of physical therapy.”
‘This can’t happen again’
The room was almost entirely lawmakers, aides and reporters on the night the House’s Jan. 6 select panel met to hold former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress. Except for Dunn and Gonell, who watched from the audience dressed in street clothes.
There’s a reason they didn’t come in uniform: The investigation is personal for them.
“You cannot move on from something until you figure out what happened,” said Dunn, who hopes to attend every public meeting of the riot committee. As he put it, “I want to see this all the way through.”
Dunn, Fanone, Gonell and Hodges’ decisions to testify before the Democratic-led panel have tied them to its work and opened them to conservative criticism about partisanship. But as far as they’re concerned, staying connected to the probe — no matter the risks, no matter how many allies of the former president downplay it — is part of their jobs, just like responding to the attack was.
“The most important battle is communicating to everyone what happened. Because that’s how we’re going to prevent it from happening again,” said Hodges.