Congressman’s office responds to report he pressed duress button to test response time

Fortenberry AP
Fortenberry AP(AP)
Published: Apr. 20, 2021 at 3:56 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Jeff Fortenberry’s office is responding after an article published Tuesday stated the Congressman tested his office duress system multiple times just to test the response times of Capitol Police.

In a statement in response to the Huffington Post article, Fortenberry’s Chief of Staff, Andrew Braner, said the Congressman “thought it wise” to test the duress system in the Capitol following the violent insurrection on Jan. 6.

“The Congressman repeatedly said to the police, ‘I know you have better things to do than this.’ But, given the violent mob insurrection at the Capitol, we thought it wise to test our systems. After the resulting 14-minute and 4-minute response times to two planned tests with the Capitol Police on the phone, they seemed grateful to know there were delays in the communication system. We are acutely aware of the trauma recently faced by the Capitol Police and are very grateful for their service,” Braner said.

According to the Huffington Post article, Capitol Police thought Fortenberry was going to test whether the duress button worked, but did not expect a response.

Fortenberry’s team says Capitol Police were aware of the test.

He then pushed the button a second time, sparking a response to his office. When officers learned it was a test, they turned back, the article states.

An officer who spoke anonymously to Huffington Post called the tests ‘reprehensible”

However, the statement from Braner says “we are strong supporters of the Capitol Police and were happy to work through this security issue with them.”

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