By BRETT ZONGKER
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON- U.S. Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer announced his resignation Friday after objections were raised to the hiring of his son-in-law as a police officer.Gainer, who served for four years as head of the police force in charge of protecting Congress, said his retirement would be effective April 6.
"I've been a policeman now or a military person for the last 38 years," Gainer told news radio station WTOP. "I'm a little bit tired, and I want to try some new things, recharge my batteries and give some other people an opportunity."
Gainer said he did not intend to break any law by hiring one of his relatives on the police force, but added, "The law was pretty clear, one of the two of us had to go."
The officer in question, Gainer's son-in-law, also resigned from his post, Gainer said.
The Capitol Police Board issued a statement saying Gainer's "tenure has been characterized by skillful leadership, always in balance with a keen awareness of the crucial and integral role the Capitol Police play."
The Capitol Police are charged with protecting 535 lawmakers and about 200 square blocks in and around the Capitol. The force came under new stress and scrutiny after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, D-Calif., ranking member on the House committee that oversees the police force, praised Gainer's tenure.
"I applaud the chief's work in providing a more diverse workforce and his commitment to promoting women and minorities, and he would be sorely missed," Millender-McDonald said in a statement.
But he has also been criticized by District of Columbia officials for not coordinating well with the city government on issues such as traffic restrictions imposed on Capitol Hill.
On the Net:
U.S. Capitol Police: http://www.uscapitolpolice.gov/