Clint Eastwood has agreed to serve as honorary chairman for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and museum in Washington, D.C.
The actor, Oscar award-winning director, and producer will help raise public awareness for the memorial and museum with a public-awareness campaign.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) built and dedicated America's national monument to fallen peace officers in 1991, and is now constructing the National Law Enforcement Museum.
"Clint Eastwood is an American icon, and we are extremely pleased and grateful that he has agreed to play a leadership role in helping us honor America's law enforcement professionals and complete their National Museum," Craig W. Floyd, NLEOMF's chairman and CEO, said in a statement.
Since 2007, the NLEOMF has been pursuing a capital campaign called "A Matter of Honor" to build the nation's first-ever National Law Enforcement Museum. So far, the campaign has raised more than $43 million of the stated $80 million goal.
"The national memorial and museum are long overdue and richly deserved tributes to the men and women in law enforcement," Eastwood said in a statement. "On average, an officer is killed in the line of duty somewhere in America every 53 hours. Some 60,000 officers a year are assaulted resulting in 16,000 injuries. Yet, despite those daunting risks, some 800,000 men and women go out every day to serve and protect us. I am deeply honored to help tell their heroic story of service and sacrifice."
The national memorial bears the names of 19,298 names of federal, state, and local officers who have been killed in the line of duty, dating back to the first death in 1791. Officer deaths have spiked the past two years, including 102 fatalities already in 2011.
Authorized by Congress, the museum will be built on federal land right across the street from the national memorial. Groundbreaking on the Museum occurred in October 2010 and it is scheduled for completion by the end of 2013.
The three-story experiential museum will offer high-tech interactive exhibitions and thousands of historical artifacts to tell the story of American law enforcement. The museum will feature a Hall of Remembrance that will chronicle the lives of the officers who made the supreme sacrifice. As the largest and most comprehensive law enforcement-focused museum in the world, the institution is designed to help visitors better understand and appreciate law enforcement's vital role in our society.
"Thousands of real-life, sworn law enforcement officers never make it home," Eastwood said. "They make the ultimate sacrifice. We owe those who have fallen, and all of our nation's law enforcement officers, a huge debt of gratitude."