Spotlight: American Police Hall of Fame & Museum
Nation's first national law enforcement museum and memorial dedicated to officers killed in the line of duty
Company Name: The National Association of Chiefs of Police
Headquarters: Titusville, FL
1. What was the inspiration behind starting your organization?
A desire to provide compassionate support, enhanced training, and better solutions for law enforcement nationwide.
2. What is your signature product and how does it work?
NACOP focuses on educating LEOs about advancements in training and police work, providing funds for K9 units to smaller agencies across the country, providing support for officers disabled in the line of duty, and educating/inspiring the public about the essential role of LEOs nationwide through the American Police Hall of Fame & Museum in Titusville, Florida. We also publish Chief of Police magazine and are getting ready to offer college-credit continuing education to LEOs through a partnership with Eastern Florida State College.
3. Why do you believe your products are essential to your vertical (Police, Fire, EMS, Corrections, Government) community?
We are one of piece of the puzzle that provides support, education and encouragement to our law enforcement professionals nationwide.
While we have traditionally focused on our K9 program, the museum, honoring fallen officers and several other areas, we are redoubling our efforts to get the word out about our scholarships, gift program and other services available to the families of disabled officers and the officers themselves. Likewise, we hope to help address issues regarding the challenges faced by officers who are suddenly disabled and separated from their purpose and like-minded associates -- and we hope to create a resource database so that no disabled officer ever has to wonder where to find support, whether emotional, financial or professional.
We have also expanded our educational efforts, offering state-of-the-art tactical training conducted by some of the nation's best-known trainers. Stay tuned for great announcements and activities geared toward making sure our LEOs are as prepared and well-trained as possible for every encounter!
4. What has been the biggest challenge your organization has faced?
As a non-profit, the challenges are unique and involve balancing the cost of constant fundraising (something you have to do when you are administering programs at the national level) with the importance of providing enduring and essential program services. In our case, we are also maintaining a large facility and working to get the word out to civilians about personal safety and about the key role that law enforcement plays in any civil society. To that end, we must have compelling local/regional programs as well as a meaningful national message. We have a small staff (25 full and part-time people) who are LE family members or retired LE themselves, working hard to grow the organization and the services it provides. It is challenging but well worth the effort. When we receive thank-you cards and emails from the children and families of disabled officers, it truly inspires us to work even harder to build something of lasting value for our LEOs nationwide.
5. What makes your company unique?
Our emphasis on disabled officers and our K9 program receive a lot of attention, as well as the high quality of our tactical training classes and the caliber of special trainers that we bring in (people like Dave "Boon" Benton - one of the Benghazi heroes, Ed Mireles - retired FBI agent involved in the 1986 Miami firefight, Shannon "the canon" Ritch- MMA fighter and trainer in hand-to-hand combat, Gary O'Neil - former special forces and author of “American Warrior,” and many others).
6. What do your customers like best about you and your products?
Our LE families and disabled officers love the fact that we are with them for the long haul. When we learn of an officer disabled in the line of duty, we begin sending holiday and birthday gifts to their children. This continues from ages 0-18 -- and, at age 18, the children become eligible for college scholarships. So we have families with whom we have been connected for 20 or more years. Likewise, we offer summer camp scholarships for the children of disabled officers and medical reimbursement for certain health related expenses. The fact that we stay with the families and support them over the long haul seems very significant to officers who sometimes feel like they are forgotten once they are no longer active duty.
7. What is the most rewarding part of serving the first responder/local government community?
Most of us who work for this organization have family members who are in law enforcement, so it is the satisfaction of serving those who serve us! It is a way to show our loved ones how much their service and sacrifice means and a way to show support for all those men and women who risk their lives each day to keep us safe.
8. Do you support any charitable organizations within public safety/community? Tell us more.
Well, as a 501(c)(3) IRS-approved agency, we do support ourselves! But we also support larger "competitors" like COPS (Concerns of Police Survivors) because they do so much for the families of fallen officers; likewise, we work closely with the 9463 Foundation which also serves law enforcement families. We work with local law enforcement, like the Brevard County Sheriff's Office, Volusia County SO, local police departments and other police supporters to identify officers and families in need and to improve our programming.
9. Is there any fun fact or trivia that you’d like to share with our users about you or your company?
Well, as the contact person, I can tell you that I cherish all things law enforcement. My husband retired as a deputy after 27 years of service, my late father-in-law rose to the rank of lieutenant with the sheriff's office and my son graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice (he is now an officer in the U.S. Army but will be serving in law enforcement eventually). And I am just ONE of the LE-related folks here, working to enhance and build the programs and efficiencies at the National Association of Chiefs of Police and the American Police Hall of Fame. In addition to my marketing and program support work, I also train civilians in firearm safety and proficiency on behalf of NACOP and am helping to build our LE training program. There is nowhere else I'd rather be or that would afford me the chance to do such meaningful work! And I know that my commitment is shared by everyone at our organization!
10. What’s next for your company? Any upcoming new projects or initiatives?
We have several significant projects on the horizon including the pending ground-breaking for the U.S. Law Enforcement Eternal Flame, which will pay tribute to LE nationwide and will stand 100 feet tall with a 10 foot tall flame. We are just beginning to share this project with potential supporters, media, etc. This new phase of growth will include an expansion of the museum, a digital project called "Voices of the Flame" which will offer a unique digital tribute to individual law enforcement officers past, present and future, a "walk of heroes" with pavers honoring those who serve...and so much more! We are also working to expand our compassionate programs and help disabled officers and their families find the resources and get the assistance they need.