The National Law Enforcement Museum (nleomf.org/museum), in the heart of Washington, D.C., provides a place where citizens and law enforcement professionals from diverse perspectives and backgrounds can share in the vibrant story of law enforcement. With architectural plans completed in 1991, more than 20 years of planning and persistence went into the creation of the nation’s first law enforcement museum before the doors opened to great fanfare on October 13, 2018.
Within the walls of this spectacular building are more than 25,000 artifacts that tell the story of American law enforcement — past, present and future — and engage visitors of all ages with memorable, immersive and experiential exhibits.
“The National Law Enforcement Museum expands and enriches the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve by sharing stories of service and sacrifice through innovative and thought-provoking programs and exhibits, as well as through once-in-a-lifetime immersive experiences. This museum’s goal is to ensure that when officers step foot on our campus that they feel honored and respected,” said CEO Marcia Ferranto.
The museum continues to adapt, crafting new and improved experiences for visitors. Some of the notable highlights include:
- Post-9/11: The Evolution of American Law Enforcement (nleomf.org/exhibit/post-9-11) was inspired by the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on our nation. This is the first exhibition to focus on the significant changes to U.S. law enforcement that occurred in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
- The museum’s patrol driving simulator (nleomf.org/museum/exhibits/driving-simulator) is the only one of its kind in the country that is not housed in a police training academy. Coupled with the decision-making simulator (nleomf.org/museum/exhibits/decision-simulator), it gives visitors an exhilarating look into the significant challenges our law enforcement are faced with every day.
- The Hall of Remembrance (nleomf.org/museum/exhibits/hall-of-remembrance) is a solemn exhibition that features the names and photographs of officers added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial each year.
- The artifacts on display in the museum’s expansive collections (nleomf.org/museum/collections) represent a wide range of materials, including items from important events such as the Lindbergh kidnapping trial, the September 11 attacks and the 2002 D.C. sniper shootings, as well as items featuring historic figures in law enforcement such as J. Edgar Hoover.
Another unique part of the museum is the recent unveiling of a new film that plays at the top of every hour in the Verizon Theater for all visitors. Called Service and Sacrifice (nleomf.org/museum/service-and-sacrifice), it is a truly transformational film experience that explores the soul and purpose of law enforcement officers and their families. The film features a diverse group of officers serving in different roles around the United States. The film demonstrates what drives someone to become a police officer, what motivates them in their work, the obstacles they face, and how their families and loved ones feel about and are affected by what they do and the risks they take.
Daily museum highlights tours are available on general admission days, led by the museum’s resident law enforcement museum guides. The museum also offers private group visits (nleomf.org/museum/guided-group-tours) Tuesdays through Thursdays, providing visitors with the exclusive experience of having the museum to themselves.
The museum is one pillar of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (nleomf.org) and serves as a platform for constructive dialogue to help strengthen relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Founded in 1984, the organization is dedicated to telling the story of American law enforcement and making it safer for those who serve.
The organization built and continues to maintain its second pillar, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial — the nation’s monument to law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty — and is the principal organizer of National Police Week each May, hosting a Candlelight Vigil every May 13 in the nation’s capital to honor all fallen officers. In addition, the Memorial Fund maintains the largest, most comprehensive and official database of line-of-duty officer deaths in the country.
Officer safety is a top priority for the Memorial Fund, and it hosts a national database of programs that promote officer safety and wellness. Additionally, the Memorial Fund maintains and publishes comprehensive details on the circumstances surrounding official line-of-duty deaths. The Officer Safety and Wellness pillar uses that data, coupled with best-practice program models, to produce programming directed at solutions to improve survivability and enhance wellness.
The Officer Safety and Wellness team participates in national and regional law enforcement conferences and expos, making safety presentations and providing important collateral designed to improve officer safety tactics, technologies and procedures.
The National Law Enforcement Museum is currently open on Fridays and Saturdays. Individual and group tickets are available, and active and retired law enforcement enjoy free admission on Saturdays. You can purchase tickets at nleomf.org/museum/admission.