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National Law Enforcement Museum Groundbreaking Gala

The National Law Enforcement Museum Groundbreaking Gala was held on October 14, 2010 to celebrate the beginning of construction of the first-ever Museum dedicated to the law enforcement profession.

More than 700 distinguished guests from the government, law enforcement and public and private sectors gathered at this black-tie event held at the National Building Museum, to pay tribute to our law enforcement officers from around the country and to help raise awareness of the National Law Enforcement Museum that will open in late 2013.

The star-studded black-tie event featured a key note address by Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano and a Reel-to-Real commentary with Law and Order star, Vincent D’Onofrio. Bill Kurtis, award-winning journalist, served as the Master of Ceremonies, and Sergeant Michael Devine of the New York City Police Department provided a musical tribute.

“Tonight celebrates a major milestone for this important institution,” said Craig W. Floyd. “With groundbreaking, we are taking a historic step in realizing our mission to tell the story of American law enforcement through exhibits, collections, research and education.”

“I am grateful tonight, to be in the company of members of the U.S. Congress, major corporations, law enforcement officers and supporters, organizations and citizens across this country that have dug deep into their pockets to ensure this Museum is built and the story of American law enforcement is told,” he added.

Select Museum artifacts were on display, offering glimpses of the exhibits and collections that will be featured in the Museum. Among them, the 1948 Plymouth P-15 Flatop that was Sheriff Richard’s vehicle in the movie, The Runaway, a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie based on a novel by Terry Kay about justice and equality; A navy blue suit coat worn by Jack Lord on Hawaii Five-O in 1974; a 1974 Police Woman Doll and other law enforcement “toys”; and various pieces of uniforms and equipment used by law enforcement throughout history.

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 dynamically engages the broadest possible audience in this story in an effort to build mutual respect and foster cooperation between the public and the law enforcement profession. By doing so, the Museum contributes to a safer society and serves to uphold the democratic ideals of the U.S. Constitution.

About The Museum:

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.

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

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.

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.

Image: National Law Enforcement Museum, Davis Buckley Architect

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