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NLEOMF Museum opening in 2009: How you can help

by Craig W. Floyd

The enormity of the sacrifice is clear to any visitor to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.  There are more than 17,000 names on the marble walls of this national monument, with hundreds more added every year.  Each of those officers paid the ultimate price working to preserve public safety.  They deserve to be honored and remembered.

But, unless you were a friend, colleague or loved one of the fallen, their inspiring stories are mostly unknown.  All of that will change, though, when the National Law Enforcement Museum opens its doors right across the street from the Memorial.

The importance of building the National Law Enforcement Museum is clear. The Memorial permanently and solemnly tells an important part of the story of service and sacrifice. But as one law enforcement leader recently said, "The Memorial focuses on the end of the story… We need to tell the rest of the story."

The Museum is being built by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which is the same nonprofit organization that established the Memorial in 1991.  Fundraising and planning for this historic philanthropic initiative-A Matter of Honor-is in the early stages (a 2009 opening is projected). When finished, the Museum-combined with the Memorial-is certain to become one of Washington, D.C.'s top visitor destinations.

Understanding that in many ways the National Law Enforcement Museum will be about law enforcement, by law enforcement, and for law enforcement, law enforcement organizations across the nation have pledged millions of dollars in support of this important project. A current and complete list of supporters is listed at the NLEOMF website, www.nleomf.com.

With cutting-edge interactive exhibits and artifacts from the history of law enforcement in America (see the sidebar about how you can add to the Museum's permanent collection!), the Museum will serve as an important bridge between law enforcement's past and present, between the fallen heroes and those who continue to follow in their footsteps, and between the officers and the public they serve. Visitors will discover the broad view of law enforcement's essential and historic role in our society. The common thread throughout will be the extraordinary service and sacrifice of the men and women who man the Thin Blue Line.

In addition to changing exhibits pertaining to unique aspects of law enforcement, the Museum's permanent exhibits will include:

  • "Being an Officer," where visitors will involve themselves in real-life training scenarios, including a "shoot/don't shoot" scenario and a high speed driving simulator. This exhibit will also focus on the worldwide war on drugs and terrorism.
  • "History of Law Enforcement", which will examine the role of law enforcement throughout our nation's history, and focus on the increasing prominence in law enforcement of women and minorities.
  • The "Hall of Remembrance," featuring multimedia stations and thousands of mementos left at the Memorial throughout the years.
  • "Reel to Real," a gallery which will juxtapose the way the media portrays law enforcement against how officers operate in "real life."

Each exhibit area will include personal stories of the heroism and sacrifice of law enforcement officers throughout our nation's history, leading up to September 11, 2001 and beyond.

The campaign to build the National Law Enforcement Museum is called A Matter of Honor. We encourage all law enforcement professionals to help build the Museum. Here's how you can help right now:

  • Become a Law Enforcement Ambassador (LEA). LEA's help raise awareness and funds for the Museum, and share with their colleagues their commitment and support. In return, LEA's get exclusive benefits. For more information, call 202-737-3400 or email lea@nleomf.com.
  • Submit an artifact for possible addition to our permanent collection! (See sidebar)
  • Invest in A Matter of Honor: The Campaign to Build the National Law Enforcement Museum. Send your check, payable to: The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 400 7th Street (NW), Suite 300, Washington, D.C. 20004.

Contributions for the capital campaign will be used to pay the costs of developing, building, equipping and operating the Museum. These costs may include predevelopment work, planning, fundraising and other activities involved in building and operating the Museum.

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