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AP days ahead with scoop on new chief of Capitol Police

J. Thomas Manger, a veteran police chief of departments in the Washington, D.C., region, raises his hand as he accepts the oath to take over the United States Capitol Police following the resignations of the previous leadership after the Jan. insurrection, the Capitol in Washington, Friday, July 23, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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The team of Eric Tucker, Michael Balsamo, Colleen Long and Mary Clare Jalonick used source work to break news, three days ahead of the official announcement naming the new chief for the U.S. Capitol Police. They were so far out front that a local news station said even the new chief had not been officially told he had the job.

The selection of a new head for the beleaguered department had been closely tracked by Washington national and local media in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection. But AP was well ahead of the competition, started with a source’s late-night tip to Justice Department reporter Tucker that J. Thomas Manger, former chief in Montgomery County, Maryland, was about to be named chief. Tucker shared that tip with Washington colleagues Michael Balsamo, Colleen Long and Mary Clare Jalonick, and the group flooded their sources, getting quiet acknowledgements. The following afternoon a second source confirmed the selection to Tucker, and the team — intimately familiar with the department and the search process — rounded out the story for Monday afternoon scoop.

Their piece immediately received strong play and AP was cited by other news outlets that had been chasing the story.

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