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Groundbreaking Set for National Law Enforcement Museum

April 14, 2010

Washington, DC – With strong backing from America’s law enforcement, corporate and philanthropic communities, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) announced today that it will break ground in October on the first-ever National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington, DC.

Groundbreaking will take place on October 14, 2010. The Museum will be built on Federal land across the street from the existing National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in historic Judiciary Square, the symbolic seat of the nation’s criminal justice system. A gala celebration is planned for that evening at the National Building Museum. The National Law Enforcement Museum is scheduled to open in late 2013.

“Almost ten years after Congress authorized this project, and following a lot of hard work, planning and generosity from the law enforcement community, corporate America and caring citizens, we are very excited and eager to get shovels in the ground later this year,” said Craig W. Floyd, chairman and chief executive officer of the Memorial Fund. “Law enforcement officers have been serving and sacrificing for our nation dating back to the earliest days of American history. Their story needs and deserves to be told,” he declared.

The non-profit NLEOMF, which built and maintains the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, is also leading the effort to build the National Law Enforcement Museum.  The NLEOMF’s governing body is composed of top officials from 16 national law enforcement organizations. 

The 55,000-square-foot, mostly underground institution will be a world-class experiential museum with high-tech interactive exhibitions. The Museum will include a vast collection of law enforcement artifacts and dedicated spaces for research and education.

Visitor experiences will range from assuming the role of a police dispatcher in the Motorola 911 Emergency Call Center; to making split-second, life-or-death decisions posed by the use-of-force judgment simulator; to solving crimes in the Museum’s Target Forensics Lab. Other major exhibitions will focus on the history of law enforcement, corrections, tools of the trade, and a fascinating look at a day in the life of an officer. The “Reel to Real” exhibit will give visitors the opportunity to compare real-life law enforcement with depictions in the movies and on television.

In the Museum’s Hall of Remembrance, visitors will learn the inspirational stories of the nearly 19,000 fallen heroes whose names are inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. A changing exhibits gallery sponsored by DuPont will focus on topical issues of the day and delve deeper into some of the milestone moments of law enforcement’s past.

One of the most comprehensive collections of law enforcement artifacts in the United States will be used by the Museum for its exhibitions, educational programs and research activities. The Museum’s collection already comprises more than 10,000 objects, including a 1703 sheriff’s writ (the oldest artifact in the collection), items from the 1932 Lindbergh baby kidnapping case and trial, Al Capone’s bullet-resistant vest and the costume worn in the 1990 movie, RoboCop 2. In addition, the Museum has been designated as the official repository for oral history transcripts from members of the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI.

In the area of education, the National Law Enforcement Museum will offer a wide range of programs for school-age children, families, adults and law enforcement professionals. In fact, the Museum’s educational efforts are already under way. A forensics-based science activity for middle school students has been pilot tested, and staff are currently developing a domestic violence awareness program that is supported by the Verizon Foundation.

“The National Law Enforcement Museum will be a must-see destination for people visiting the nation’s capital,” Mr. Floyd said. “It will also be an important hub for the study of law enforcement in America and for engaging current and future generations in what the law enforcement profession means to our society and our democracy,” he added.

The Museum is being designed by Davis Buckley Architects and Planners, the DC firm that also created the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, which was dedicated in 1991. Exhibit design is being led by the Boston firm of Christopher Chadbourne & Associates, whose work also includes the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center at Mount Vernon and the National Museum of the Marine Corps, in Quantico, VA. Clark Construction of Bethesda, MD, has been selected as the project’s general contractor.

Funds for the construction and development of the Museum are being raised privately by the NLEOMF, which has launched an $80 million capital campaign called “A Matter of Honor.” To date, law enforcement organizations, corporations, foundations and individuals from across the country have donated nearly $40 million toward that goal. The District of Columbia Government has also been a strong supporter of the project, authorizing up to $80 million in industrial revenue bonds and providing a 20-year sales tax credit for the Museum worth up to $10 million. 

Major donations of $1 million or more have come from Motorola, DuPont, Target, Verizon, Mag-Lite, Advanced Interactive Systems, Panasonic, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association and the Police Unity Tour, whose $5 million donation is the single largest to date. Former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton serve as co-chairs of the Museum’s National Honorary Campaign Committee, which also includes seven former Attorneys General of the United States, as well as other former government officials and celebrities. The Museum was authorized by a public law enacted in 2000. The law was authored by U.S. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, a former deputy sheriff.

The mission of the National Law Enforcement Museum is to tell the story of American law enforcement through exhibits, collections, research and education. For more information, visit www.LawEnforcementMuseum.org.

Contact: Kevin Morison
202-737-7134 -- kevin@nleomf.org