Exhibit Spotlight: Being an Officer

Exhibits of the National Law Enforcement Museum: Being an Officer

In past issues of the National Law Enforcement Museum Insider, we shared brief overviews of the Museum’s permanent exhibits. Now, we examine some stories and artifacts each exhibit will highlight.

Being an Officer will explore the diverse work and experiences of law enforcement professionals around the country. There are about 800,000 federal, state, local, territorial, tribal and correctional officers serving in America today. Most officers have some duties and responsibilities in common, but there are also many differences between them.

Sheriff, trooper, patrolman, special agent, constable, correctional officer—these are just some examples of titles and ranks used in American law enforcement. Since laws vary from state to state, a California Highway Patrol officer’s duties, jurisdiction and daily routine differ from those of an officer serving with the Oneida Indian Nation Police in New York. Being an Officer will touch on all this and more, from the day-to-day work environments to the difficult decisions all sworn law enforcement officers are trained to make in high-pressure situations.

In Being an Officer, visitors will be able to walk into a real jail cell where they will learn about the history and evolution of corrections in America.

Of the many sections in Being an Officer, one area will focus on correctional officers. The experience in this section, which is sponsored by the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA), will begin as visitors walk into a real jail cell where they will learn about the history and evolution of corrections in America. There will also be the opportunity to hear firsthand accounts from the men and women who assume the risks and accept the challenges of working in correctional institutions across the country.

Visitors will get to take a close look at the work of those whose job is to protect the public from prison inmates and protect the inmates from one another. In many cases these officers carry no guns into the cellblocks, and it is not unusual for them to be outnumbered by inmates 30 to one.

No matter how tight the security, contraband items, including drugs and weapons, are still either made in or smuggled into prisons and jails. Corrections officers try to limit the amount of contraband materials through frequent searches of inmates’ cells and personal items.

Take a sneak peek at some contraband items and weapons confiscated from prisoners that will be on exhibit when the Museum opens in 2015.


901 E Street, NW, Suite 100 | Washington, DC 20004-2025 | phone 202.737.3400 | fax 202.737.3405
www.LawEnforcementMuseum.org | museum@nleomf.org