The Capitol Police inspector general is leaving his job on Oct. 20, less than a year after he started in the role that runs the department’s watchdog office.
Ron Russo told CQ Roll Call in an emailed statement that he will retire because of family health issues.
“After much consideration, I have decided to retire and return home to tend to family health matters,” Russo said. He recently notified the Capitol Police Board of his plan to leave.
A report by the Fernandina Observer in June said Russo was one of the applicants for a city manager position in Fernandina Beach, Fla., near Jacksonville. Russo said Wednesday that he is not leaving for another opportunity and had withdrawn from the city manager process.
Michael A. Bolton retired as the department’s inspector general in 2022. Ronald Gregory took over acting duties until Russo started on Jan. 29. Russo said the Capitol Police Board will decide who succeeds him.
Russo’s tenure at the agency includes an appearance before lawmakers where he acknowledged that some of the recommendations issued by his predecessor in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol were marked as completed although they weren’t fully executed.
Under his leadership, but also compelled by members, Russo’s office publicly released several redacted inspector general reports on issues such as training and an analysis of outdated standard operating procedures. Until then, such reports were largely inaccessible to the public.
Still, many reports are shielded from public view. The department, part of the legislative branch, is exempt from the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.
Russo began his stint with the Capitol Police after serving in state and local government in Florida. That includes positions as inspector general for Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the state’s Department of Transportation and its Department of Business and Professional Regulation. He has also worked at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Chief J. Thomas Manger, through a spokesperson, Tim Barber, referred comment to the Capitol Police Board.
The three voting members of the Capitol Police Board — Karen Gibson, the Senate sergeant-at-arms; William McFarland, the House sergeant-at-arms; and Chere Rexroat, the acting architect of the Capitol — did not respond to a request for comment.