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Law Enforcement Museum opens

By submitted, 10/20/18 8:13 AM

LITTLE ROCK – The National Law Enforcement Museum opened last week in Washington 18 years after President Clinton approved the site.
The building which houses the $100 million museum has three levels and 57,000 square feet, and two of the levels are underground. The site for the museum is adjacent to the National Law Enforcement Memorial at Judiciary Square. Of the 21,000 names of fallen officers inscribed on the wall, nearly 300 of them are Arkansans.
George H.W. Bush, who was president when the memorial opened in 1991, spoke these words about it: “Carved on these walls is the story of America, of a continuing quest to preserve both democracy and decency, and to protect a national treasure that we call the American dream.”
Now, in addition to the memorial, we have the National Law Enforcement Museum.
The new museum tells the story of law enforcement in America with 20,000 artifacts and exhibits such as the desk that J. Edgar Hoover used as director of the FBI and the handcuffs that police snapped onto the wrists of Sirhan Sirhan moments after he shot Robert F. Kennedy.
The museum offers interactive exhibits that allow visitors to play the role of a 911 dispatcher. Another exhibit is a shoot-don’t shoot exercise that puts visitors in the place of an officer who has a split-second to decide whether the person coming around the corner is a good guy or a threat.
One of the exhibits includes the truck that Arkansas Game and Fish officer Michael Neal drove at 50 miles per hour into a van to stop a father and son who had just killed two West Memphis police officers.
Four years after the May 10, 2010, tragedy in West Memphis, Mike Neal became sheriff of Monroe County. Sheriff Neal, his wife and their three daughters were among the guests who attended the private opening of the museum last week.
The museum is a tribute to the officers who protect us on a daily basis and a reminder of the risks they take to do their job. I am grateful for the police officers at all levels – federal, state, county, and city – who devote their lives to protecting ours.