The San Antonio Police Officers' Association (SAPOA) Executive Board recently voted unanimously to commit $100,000 to the National Law Enforcement Museum, scheduled to open in the nation's capital in 2011. The donation will be raised over the next four years by the Association.
In September, John Shanks, director of law enforcement relations for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), made a presentation to the San Antonio Police Officers' Association and requested that the Board of Directors consider supporting the museum. The SAPOA becomes one of approximately three dozen law enforcement organizations nationally that have committed $100,000 or more to the Museum project.
The San Antonio Police Department has lost two officers in the line of duty over the last two years: Officer Val Lopez Jr., died on June 21, 2006, from a previous gunshot wound, and Detective Mario Moreno was gunned down on September 21, 2007. In 2001, the department lost three officers: John Anthony (Rocky) Riojas, Hector Garza, and Juan Morales. "It is in the memory of all of our fallen colleagues that we feel compelled to make this donation to the National Law Enforcement Museum," said SAPOA President Teddy Stewart.
Nearly 50 San Antonio police officers have died in the line of duty dating back to 1857. They are among the nearly 18,000 fallen law enforcement officers whose names are engraved on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC.
"Through this generous pledge, the San Antonio Police Officers' Association has demonstrated once again its commitment to the men and women of law enforcement in San Antonio and throughout the country," said Craig Floyd, Chairman and CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. "We are especially grateful for the leadership of SAPOA and President Teddy Stewart in recognizing the importance of the National Law Enforcement Museum and in supporting this long-overdue tribute to the law enforcement profession," he added.
Authorized by Congress in the year 2000, the National Law Enforcement Museum will be a 95,000-square-foot, mostly underground museum located just blocks from the U.S. Capitol and directly adjacent to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. When it opens in 2011, the museum will provide an estimated half million visitors a year with a compelling and comprehensive look at law enforcement in America through a combination of high-tech, interactive exhibitions and interesting historical artifacts. Groundbreaking for the museum is scheduled for 2008.
The privately funded museum has launched an $80 million capital campaign, with more than $32 million raised to date. For more information about the National Law Enforcement Museum, including a virtual tour, visit www.LawEnforcementMuseum.o