National Law Enforcement Museum Opens in D.C.

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The National Law Enforcement Museum opened Saturday in Washington, D.C., with an  array of interactive exhibits, the Washington Post reports. The $103 million project, located opposite from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, was 20 years in the making, from conceptualization by memorial chief executive Craig Floyd to deeding of the land by Congress in 2000, to fundraising, design approval and construction. The Police Unity Tour, an annual police bike-riding fundraiser, contributed $23 million, said director David Brant. At an opening ceremony, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said police are more professional and sophisticated than ever. “In this museum,” he said, “their stories will be told: stories about courage, stories about honor, stories about sacrifice. True stories that remind us never to take public safety for granted.“

“We want the public to get a glimpse of law enforcement in a way they typically don’t,” said Brant, a former Miami police officer and ex-director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. There are historical artifacts like J. Edgar Hoover’s desk and the rifle used by the D.C. snipers, as well as interactive displays on a wide range of professions. Visitors can spend a day in the life of a prison guard, ride a boat with a marine officer, and sit in the interrogation room with a detective. One exhibit invites visitors to “Take the Case” and gather evidence from a crime. You can put on a dispatcher’s headset, hear a 911 call, then decide how to respond. The police shooting and subsequent rioting in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014, has a display, and some of Hoover’s many missteps as FBI director are noted. A changing exhibits gallery focuses on community trust-building initiatives by police in five cities, and asks visitors to make suggestions for improving relations with police. There is a $21.95 admission charge for adults.

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