WASHINGTON — The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) today formally broke ground on the new National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington, DC. The groundbreaking ceremony took place at the future site of the Museum in the 400 block of E Street, NW, 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. Today’s ceremony marked the official start of construction work on the Museum, ten years after Congress authorized the project.
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 and Design and Production, Inc. will serve as exhibit fabricators.
Exhibit Highlights: From Interactive 911 Emergency Center to Al Capone’s Bullet-Resistant Vest
One of the key artifacts to be displayed in the Museum, a U.S. Park Police helicopter, “Eagle One,” is the aircraft used in the law enforcement response to the Air Florida Flight 90 crash into the 14th Street Bridge on January 13, 1982.
Scheduled to open in late 2013, 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 movies and on television. The National Law Enforcement Museum will offer a wide range of educational programs for school-age children, families, adults and law enforcement professionals.
One of the most comprehensive collections of law enforcement artifacts found anywhere in the world will be used by the Museum for its exhibitions, educational programs and research activities. The Museum’s collection already comprises more than 14,000 objects, including a sheriff’s writ from 1703, the earliest object in the collection; artifacts associated with infamous crimes, such as the Lindbergh baby kidnapping case, and infamous criminals such as gangster Al Capone; handcuffs, nightsticks and other tools of the trade dating back to the 1850s; and pop culture items, such as the RoboCop movie costume and one of Jack Bauer’s sweatshirts from the television show, “24.”
The Museum has also been designated as the official repository for oral history transcripts from members of the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI and, earlier this year, the Museum acquired the J. Edgar Hoover estate, which includes thousands of personal and professional objects belonging to the legendary director of the FBI. The Museum will also feature material from the Memorial Fund’s files on the nearly 19,000 federal, state and local law enforcement officers in the United States who have died in the line of duty since the first recorded death in 1792.
Museum Fundraising and Support
Funds for the construction and development of the Museum, which was authorized by a public law enacted in 2000 and authored by U.S. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, a former deputy sheriff, are being raised privately by the Memorial Fund. The cost of the Museum, which is scheduled to open in late 2013, is approximately $80 million. To date, law enforcement organizations, corporations, foundations and individuals from across the country have donated over $40 million toward that goal. The District of Columbia Government has also been a strong supporter of the project, authorizing up to $60 million in industrial revenue bonds to help with financing, 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, the Verizon Foundation, Mag-Lite, Advanced Interactive Systems, Panasonic Solutions Company, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association and the Police Unity Tour, whose $5 million donation is the single largest to date. The campaign is being spearheaded by Former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, who serve as co-chairs of the Museum’s National Honorary Campaign Committee.
The mission of the National Law Enforcement Museum is to tell the story of American law enforcement through exhibits, collections, research and education. The Museum seeks to build mutual respect and foster cooperation between the public and the law enforcement profession in an effort to create a safer society and to uphold the democratic ideals of the U.S. Constitution.
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