Visitors at the National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington, DC, can experience a simulation of working as a 911 dispatcher. (Photo: National Law Enforcement Museum)

Visitors at the National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington, DC, can experience a simulation of working as a 911 dispatcher. (Photo: National Law Enforcement Museum)

Interactive exhibits at the new National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington, DC, invite visitors to use their senses of sight, hearing, touch and smell in gathering information the way police, detectives and forensic scientists do.

 “It’s a walk-in-their-shoes experience,” Julie Bell, the museum’s manager of school programs, told the Washington Post.

Exhibits include a training simulator. Visitors age 12 and older can try the same training scenarios and equipment used in professional law enforcement classes in which police try to resolve difficult situations. Short videos, based on real police encounters, test participants’ abilities to observe accurately and think quickly before reacting.

The exercises give an understanding of what officers face on a daily basis.

“Many kids first think it’s like a video game,” said Alan Davis, an educator and retired New York police officer. “They soon realize that real-life split-second decision-making isn’t easy, and they freeze. For real police, there are no second chances.”

 

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