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NYPD official named Capitol Police director of intelligence

Ravi Satkalmi will start his role with USCP in April

U.S. Capitol Police officers stand guard at a bicameral prayer vigil on the East Front to commemorate the one-year the anniversary of the January 6th attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2022.
U.S. Capitol Police officers stand guard at a bicameral prayer vigil on the East Front to commemorate the one-year the anniversary of the January 6th attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2022. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Ravi Satkalmi, a high-ranking NYPD intelligence official, will be the Capitol Police’s next director of intelligence, the department announced Thursday.

Satkalmi will start his role in April. Julie Farnam, the acting director of intelligence, will serve as assistant director.

“Ravi Satkalmi has more than a decade of national security, intelligence and law enforcement experience,” Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said in a statement. “He has a proven track record of building strong teams, leading during crises and driving critical change.”

Satkalmi will lead the team that supplies intelligence and analysis regarding threats against Congress. This includes overseeing the Intelligence and Interagency Coordination Division, which came under vigorous scrutiny in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection.

A joint Senate committee report found the Capitol Police’s intelligence units did not communicate the full scope of threat information they possessed leading up to the Capitol attack. The bipartisan report said the Intelligence and Interagency Coordination Division was aware of the potential for violence in the days and weeks ahead of Jan. 6, and had information from several sources concerning violent threats that targeted the joint session of Congress to count Electoral College votes.

Still, the intelligence division “failed to fully incorporate this information into all of its internal assessments about January 6 and the Joint Session. As a result, critical information regarding threats of violence was not shared with USCP’s own officers and other law enforcement partners,” according to the report.

The department has been working to improve on shortcomings highlighted from the Capitol attack, including addressing issues flagged by its inspector general. Manger has been focused on hiring more officers to address staffing shortages. He told the House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee in January that the department needs to “nearly double” the amount of agents who work on member-threat cases. For the fiscal year 2023 funding bill, Manger plans to ask for more threat investigators to keep up with rising threats to members.

Satkalmi comes to the department with a breadth of intelligence experience. He served as NYPD’s deputy director for intelligence analysis from 2016 until he was promoted to director in 2021. While at the department, Satkalmi worked to establish the force’s efforts to combat domestic extremism. He also managed a team of investigators, which led to successful counterterrorism prosecutions.

Last year, Satkalmi, a member of the Gay Officers Action League, wrote an opinion piece for NBC News in which he discussed his disappointment in the New York City Pride celebration’s exclusion of LGBTQ+ members from the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies until 2025.

The march, he notes, commemorates the 1969 Stonewall Uprising wherein the NYPD violently enforced unjust laws that essentially criminalized being gay, and protests emerged that became the foundation of the gay rights movement. In 2019, Satkalmi came out publicly at a press conference at NYPD headquarters regarding security plans for World Pride events, and James O’Neill, the police commissioner at the time, apologized for the NYPD’s actions at Stonewall in 1969, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“But if the intervening decades of activism and progress are to have any meaning, Pride also has to be a place for those who have fought for change from within the very establishments that most need reform,” Satkalmi wrote in the NBC piece.

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