Peoria Journal Star

November 16, 2006

Former Chicago officer Terrance Gainer named top cop in U.S. Senate

By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service

WASHINGTON - Terrance W. Gainer, who rose from Chicago cop to head of the Illinois State Police to chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, now has another title to add to his resume.

Gainer, 59, has been named sergeant at arms in the Senate when Democrats take control of the chamber in January.

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., named Gainer to the top Senate law enforcement post this week.

Gainer on Wednesday called the new job "very exciting," adding that it came as a complete surprise when Reid offered the job to him last week.

Six weeks ago, he had taken a new job as vice president in charge of overseas law enforcement programs at L3 Communications, a defense contractor.

Reid tapped Gainer "because he has the highest respect for the man who for years helped protect and defend the Capitol against terrorism fears, anthrax attacks and more," Reid spokesman Will Edgar said.

Assuming he receives Senate approval, Gainer would be sworn in Jan. 4. He would succeed former Secret Service agent William H. Pickle in the post.

Gainer, a widely admired yet controversial figure, retired from his last high-profile job, Capitol Police chief, in April after it was revealed that his son-in-law worked for the police force in violation of department nepotism rules. On Wednesday, Gainer said he was unaware of the rule when his son-in-law was hired but felt it was the right thing for him to do to step down since it was his mistake.

His last job in Illinois was as state police director under Gov. Jim Edgar from 1991 to 1998. He also is an attorney.

Gainer said the new job, which includes overseeing protocol and Senate support services, will be different in some ways.

 

"When you're dealing with the history and the protocol and the importance of the Senate, I think, it puts a little bit more pressure on it," he said. He said his priorities will be security and "making sure the business of the Senate can be done."

"It needs to be a well-oiled city up there and I get to orchestrate it for a while," he said.

Gainer served in the No. 2 spot in the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department from 1998 until 2002, when he was hired as Capitol Police chief after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

As chief law enforcement officer for the Senate, the sergeant at arms is charged with maintaining security in the Capitol and the protection of senators. He will serve on a board that oversees the Capitol Police.

The sergeant at arms also oversees protocol, and is responsible for escorting the president and other heads of state who are attending functions in the Capitol.

The $161,000 post also has jurisdiction over support services to the Senate, including information technology, telecommunications and other administrative duties