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National Law Enforcement Museum Kickoff News Conference

Master of Ceremonies Remarks

By Craig W. Floyd, NLEOMF Chairman & CEO, February 27, 2007

Good morning, my name is Craig Floyd and I am privileged to serve as the Chairman and CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

 

On behalf of our board of directors . . . welcome press and other special guests here today.  It should be noted that our board of directors is comprised of top officials from 15 major national law enforcement organizations, representing virtually all of America’s nearly 900,000 sworn federal, state and local officers. Many of them are here today. All of their names and organizations are listed in your press kits. The plans we are announcing here today are all testament to their leadership and vision.

 

We are here today to unveil the exciting plans for America’s first-ever National Law Enforcement Museum! This institution will be the largest and most comprehensive law enforcement museum and research repository found anywhere in the world.

 

Why does our nation need a National Law Enforcement Museum? Quite simply, law enforcement is one of the pillars of our free and civil society. Yet, it is a profession that is often misunderstood or taken for granted. This Museum will peel away the mystery, debunk the myths, and help our citizens come to better understand and appreciate the vital role that law enforcement has played throughout  our nation’s history. Without that public support, our law enforcement professionals cannot do their jobs effectively and safely.

 

The Museum was authorized in 2000 by an Act of Congress. The public law was championed by retired U.S. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, himself a former deputy sheriff. The Museum will be built on Federal land across the street from the existing National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in a place called Judiciary Square, the symbolic seat of our nation’s criminal justice system. The site is located in the 400 block of E Street, NW, Washington, DC, just a short distance from the U.S. Capitol and National Mall.

 

This will not be any ordinary Museum. It will be a world-class experiential museum with high-tech interactive exhibitions. The 90,000 square-foot underground facility, with its theater and five exhibition galleries, will allow visitors to be a law officer for the day. Experiences will range from making split-second, life-or-death decisions posed by the “shoot/don’t shoot” training simulator, to solving crimes in the Museum’s forensics lab.

 

In the Museum’s Hall of Remembrance, visitors will hear the inspirational stories of the nearly 18,000 fallen heroes whose names are inscribed on the National Memorial. They will be introduced to heroes like Dallas Police Officer J.D. Tippit, who was shot and killed trying to arrest the assassin of President John F. Kennedy . . . heroes like DEA Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena who was kidnapped and tortured to death fighting the drug war in Mexico . . . heroes like Fairfax County, Virginia Police Detective Vicky Armel and Master Police Officer Michael Garbarino who laid down their lives last May while courageously working to save other officers from a killer’s rage.

 

In a moment our architect, Davis Buckley, and exhibition designer, Christopher Chadbourne, will provide more details about this extraordinary museum experience.  But, also today, we are launching the public phase of our fundraising campaign for the Museum. We call it “A Matter of Honor.” Our goal is to raise $80 million, all of it from private donations. We are calling on citizens, corporations and foundations across America to join us in paying tribute to our nation’s law enforcement officers by making a donation in support of the campaign to build this important Museum.

 

You will not be alone. With law enforcement and some of their top corporate partners leading the way, we have already raised $29 million for the Museum. Major initial contributions of a million dollars or more have come from Motorola, DuPont, Mag-Lite, Advanced Interactive Systems (AIS) and the Police Unity Tour, whose $5 million commitment is the largest to date. All of them are represented here today.

 

We are also calling on the public to help us find the historical artifacts needed to populate our exhibitions. And, we are calling on the law enforcement officers across the country to tell us their stories so we can include them in the first-ever Officer Roll Call, a registry of any and all law enforcement officers who have ever served our nation.

 

For more information about the Museum and how to support the campaign, go to our Web site at www.LawEnforcementMuseum.

 

Introduction of Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton

 

I am also pleased to announce for the first time publicly that the campaign in support of the National Law Enforcement Museum is being led by former Presidents George H.W. Bush and William J. Clinton. They have both agreed to be Co-Chairs of the National Honorary Committee for the “Matter of Honor” campaign.

 

Both have been long-time supporters of the Memorial Fund and the work we do. Former President Bush dedicated the National Memorial in 1991, and President Clinton signed the authorizing law to establish the National Law Enforcement Museum. At this time, I would like to direct your attention to the television monitors for an important message from each of the former Presidents.

 

Introduction of Former Attorneys General

 

Now it is my great privilege to introduce three distinguished public servants, all of whom served as Attorney General of the United States. Each of them have been long-time supporters of the Memorial Fund. Ed Meese provided invaluable aid in helping to build the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. Dick Thornburgh was keynote speaker on the day we unveiled designs for the National Memorial, some 20 years ago. And, John Ashcroft inspired us all with his moving tributes to our fallen officers and their families at past Memorial candlelight vigils. Each of them has accepted our invitation to help lead the campaign as members of the National Honorary Committee. I would now like to ask them to offer their own personal thoughts about the importance of this Museum. General Meese will begin, followed by Generals Thornburgh and Ashcroft.

 

Introduction of Jean Hill, National President of C.O.P.S.

 

Our next speaker has a deeply personal story to tell. Jean Hill lost her son, Barry, in December 2000, when he was shot and killed attempting to make an arrest. She suffered terribly. But rather than lose herself in despair and bitterness, Jean has channeled her talent and energy into helping other survivors. She is now the National President of COPS—the Concerns of Police Survivors. She understands the importance of this Museum in keeping the memories of our fallen law enforcement heroes alive, and to honor the profession they served. Ladies and gentlemen, Jean Hill.

 

Introduction of Davis Buckley and Chris Chadbourne

 

Planning for the Museum is being performed by some of the world’s most renowned experts in architecture, engineering and exhibition design. The Museum building is being designed by one of our nation’s most renowned architects, Davis Buckley of Washington, D.C. Among his most famous works are the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, and the National Japanese American Memorial here in our nation’s capital. Chris Chadbourne is one of America’s foremost museum and exhibition designers. In the Washington area alone he has designed several remarkable exhibitions, including the National Museum of the Marine Corps and the Mount Vernon Educational Center. We are fortunate to have them both on our team. I would now like to invite Davis Buckley to come forward to comment on some of the unique elements of his building design, to be followed by a brief presentation on some of the exhibition highlights by Chris Chadbourne.

 

Concluding Remarks

 

I want to thank all of our presenters and open up to questions about the Museum and the “Matter of Honor” campaign. Thanks also to all of our guests for attending.

 

Any reporters interested in one-on-one interviews with any of our presenters or other guests are welcome to do so. That concludes our formal presentation. At this time, would like to invite the media and our other guests to please take some time to view the historical artifacts we have on display, and to experience the “Use of Force Judgment Simulator” to see how well you do at making split-second, life-or death decisions! I want to thank our friends from Advanced Interactive Systems who came all the way from Seattle to help walk us through it.

 

Enjoy the experience . . . thanks again for your presence here today!