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Why a Law Enforcement Museum?

Filling the need to honor, remember and learn

Since the earliest days of Colonial America, law enforcement officers have played a critical role in the growth of our nation, helping to secure our lives, liberties and rights. Over the centuries, literally millions of men and women have answered the call to serve and protect and more than 20,000 officers have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.

Despite the dangers and difficulties of the job, today more than 900,000 local, state, federal and tribal law enforcement officers proudly serve in communities across America and put their lives on the line for the safety and protection of others. It is an incredible story of service and sacrifice that, for the most part, has gone untold.

"Clearly, our law enforcement officers have a profound and positive effect on our society. Establishing this Museum is the least we can do to ensure that their stories of heroism are never forgotten."
— Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (Ret.)

To Honor the Fallen

The need for a museum first became evident soon after the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial was completed in 1991. The Memorial struck a chord and touched the hearts of Americans all across the country who expressed a keen interest in learning the stories behind the thousands of officers memorialized on the walls. The Memorial honors centuries of sacrifice; the Museum will tell the rest of the story.

To Create Understanding and Appreciation

When it opens, the National Law Enforcement Museum will help visitors better understand and appreciate the vital contributions our law officers have made to our nation. Without their uncommon commitment, the United States of America as we know it would not exist. The Museum will tell the story of the courageous work of the men and women who have spent their lives protecting us. It is a story of valor and hope, heroism and appreciation.

Through interactive exhibitions and compelling first-person narratives, visitors will step into the lives of American law enforcement officers throughout history. Visitors will see how law enforcement developed from a volunteer night watch to a high-tech professional force. And they'll experience the physical and emotional challenges that law enforcement professionals face every single day, seeing what it really takes to keep America free and safe.

What more fitting place for the National Law Enforcement Museum than our nation's capital? For the first time ever in our country's history, there will be a national museum where our system of law and its dedicated officers will have their stories told with candor and respect.