The first-ever national museum dedicated to law enforcement in the United States is one step closer to reality, thanks to a generous donation from the Florida Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).
Under the leadership of State Lodge President James Preston, local lodges, and individual members and donors of the Florida FOP have raised $100,000 for the National Law Enforcement Museum, scheduled to open in Washington, DC, in 2012.
"When the law enforcement community in Florida learned we were building a world-class museum that would tell their profession's remarkable story of service and sacrifice, the members of the Florida FOP came together in a statewide partnership around the project," said Craig W. Floyd, chairman and CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which is spearheading the Museum project. "That their grassroots campaign raised $100,000 in support of this national museum is a testament to the vision of State Lodge President James Preston and the commitment his members have to their profession and the public they serve," Floyd added.
Authorized by Congress in the year 2000, the planned National Law Enforcement Museum is a 95,000 square foot, mostly underground museum to be located adjacent to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in downtown Washington, DC. The Memorial contains the names of 18,274 law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty throughout U.S. history, including 707 officers from the state of Florida.
The Museum will serve as a natural complement to the Memorial, helping citizens better understand and appreciate the vital role that law enforcement officers play in enforcing the law and keeping communities safe from crime and terror. The Museum will feature high-tech, interactive exhibitions, including use-of-force and high-speed driving simulators; precious artifacts and oral histories; and extensive research, educational and public programming for young people and adults.
"Getting behind a museum of this caliber was an easy call for our lodges and members," said Mr. Preston, the State FOP Lodge President. "The National Law Enforcement Museum will be a crown jewel for law enforcement officers throughout Florida and across the nation. Peace officers and the public will thoroughly enjoy the interactive experience of the Museum as they get a hands-on feel for what it means to be a law enforcement officer of yesterday and today," he added.
The privately funded Museum launched an $80 million "A Matter of Honor" capital campaign, with more than $36 million raised to-date, much of it from the law enforcement community. The Florida FOP is one of more than three dozen law enforcement organizations nationally that have donated $100,000 or more to the Museum. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush serve as national honorary co-chairs of the Museum's capital campaign, called "A Matter of Honor."
For more information about the National Law Enforcement Museum, including a virtual tour, visit www.LawEnforcementMuseum.org.