In the fall of 2018, American law enforcement officers will have the opportunity to "Stand With Honor" as the first National Law Enforcement Museum is set to open in Washington, DC. To help depict the legacy of law enforcement, the National Law Enforcement Museum is offering active and retired law enforcement officers the opportunity to join the Stand With Honor alliance (www.standwithhonor.us). This program offers us a lifetime membership to the museum as well as the opportunity to have your stories recorded for generations of Americans who visit the museum. Your voices and your experiences will be the pillar of this museum.
The Stand With Honor alliance was initiated and is being led by Pat Montuore and Harry Phillips. Montuore is a retired chief from the Florham Park (NJ) Police Department and the founder of the Police Unity Tour. Phillips is a retired sergeant from the West Orange (NJ) Police Department and has served as an original principal of the Unity Tour. These men recognized the importance of capturing the stories of those who have served to help build a meaningful law enforcement museum. Their vision was to draw upon the experiences of active and retired law enforcement officers to help "Build our house."
The museum, which is currently under construction, is located adjacent to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. The goal of the museum is provide the public with the opportunity to experience the legacy of law enforcement through interactive exhibits. The Stand With Honor alliance seeks to engage the stories of local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement officers, and provide a historical perspective that encompasses all ranks and departments within law enforcement.
The Stand With Honor alliance is important because the media continues to perpetuate a false narrative of law enforcement, and we don't want the legacy of those who served with honor to be defined by anti-cop rhetoric. We aren't perfect, but law enforcement is what sustains our democracy and protects our citizens' freedoms. And like our military brothers and sisters, law enforcement officers have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our great nation. Their service and their legacy should be honored and not discredited. There are currently 21,183 names of fallen heroes inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial wall. Additionally, we have over 900,000 sworn officers who continue to serve, as well as over 1.5 million retired law enforcement officers. Your collective stories and experiences are what continue to define our honorable profession.
We want the American public to visit the museum to learn about the proud history of law enforcement. Television continues to be saturated with law enforcement shows, but few offer any semblance to reality. The news media seems to have a greater appetite for covering our few mistakes rather than our vast accomplishments. By offering visitors an interactive experience, the museum will provide the public with an opportunity to engage in a virtual walk in the shoes of an officer. That walk will be empowered by your stories, and will provide the public with new insight and appreciation for the history of law enforcement.
In a recent Stand With Honor statement to law enforcement, Chief Montuore stated, "I cannot stress enough how important it is for you and all members of law enforcement to be represented in this museum. In addition to a lifetime membership, exclusive event invites, and other member-only perks, it's the chance to be a part of history and share your own story of honor with the world. Stories that need to be heard." Montuore is correct. Altered stories have already been told by biased reporters or Hollywood writers, but now the public should be exposed to the truth in our museum.
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, one officer dies in the line of duty every 63 hours, and over 50,000 officers are assaulted each year. The stories behind this need to be told, and your experiences are our nation's history.
In order to join the Stand With Honor alliance and support the Museum campaign, you are asked to make a one-time payment of $300 (or monthly installments). Considering how much I spend on one cup of coffee, I think this payment is well worth it. As Montuore and Phillips continue to travel nationwide to discuss the Stand With Honor alliance with law enforcement, I ask that you share this information with our retired brothers and sisters as well.