Wednesday, October 19, 2016

25 Years of the Memorial

Painting "The Ellipse" by Davis A. Buckley, 1987.
An early idea for the location of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
It has been 25 years since the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial was dedicated on October 15, 1991, and with construction of the National Law Enforcement Museum underway, it only seems right to look back on the Memorial, the work that went into building it, and the significance it continues to hold.

There were many things to consider in determining the location of the Memorial. It was to be in a prominent place, easily accessible for the public. It was also important that the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial not be linked or associated with any of the numerous military memorials around the nation’s capital, as it served a distinct purpose. Early on, Craig Floyd, the first Executive Director (and current President and CEO), consulted with Jan Scruggs, the President and Founder of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF). Thanks to Mr. Scruggs, in many ways, the NLEOMF was able to follow the model of the VVMF in creating the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

When Davis Buckley, the architect hired by NLEOMF, drew up his first designs for the memorial, he used the site of the Ellipse – the area between the Washington Monument and the White House – for his plans. This site was rejected by the National Capital Memorial Commission at the time, which eventually led to the choice of the Memorial’s current location in Judiciary Square. This site received final approval by the National Capital Planning Commission and the D.C. City Council in March of 1989.

One unique element of the design is that it does not include a statue of a person. Instead, at the center of the memorial, is a bronze medallion with a shield and rose, surrounded by an ivy wreath. The shield incorporated the preference of many supporters who voiced that a badge should be featured in the memorial somewhere.

The inclusion of the lion statues was deemed right and appropriate by all parties involved. Created by sculptor Ray Kaskey, four groups of lions and cubs at the entry points to the Pathways of Remembrance along the memorial walls, symbolize the protective role of law enforcement. According to Kaskey, “The idea of lions representing the virtues that we are trying to call forth here is very old…Throughout history…lions have been used to represent not only power, but also courage, protection, alertness. All of these things we wanted to put across with the symbolic representation in the Memorial.” The lion cubs are meant to represent the survivors and families of fallen officers, as well as the innocence of the general public whom law enforcement are charged with protecting.

The trees and flowers in the landscaping are inviting year-round, and together are meant to represent the seasons of life, and cycles of birth and death.

It is clear that every element of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial was carefully planned, and the feelings it evokes are no mere coincidence. Over the past 25 years this Memorial has truly served its purpose. It is a place to honor those who have died in the line of duty and for friends and family to remember lost loved ones. It is also an enjoyable, quiet space in the middle of the city for anyone who visits.

Information on the National Law Enforcement Memorial taken from The Making of a Memorial by Connie Clark.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Artifact Spotlight

Gun Belt and Holster Donated by Granddaughter of Fallen Officer


Jenny Cooper, granddaughter of James S. Mullins
Jenny Cooper, granddaughter of James S. Mullins,
holding his gun belt and holster.
Last month the National Law Enforcement Museum received a fascinating artifact from a law enforcement survivor whose grandfather was added to the Memorial wall in 2015. Jenny Cooper donated the belt and holster worn by her grandfather, Virginia State Prohibition Inspector James S. Mullins, when he was killed in the line of duty in Clintwood, Virginia.

On August 6, 1926, Inspector Mullins stood outside the Dickenson County, VA, courthouse discussing a warrant with colleagues E.J. Sutherland, the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Dickenson County, and Miles Sykes, the Justice of the Peace. According to official eyewitness testimony of both of these men, Inspector Mullins was approached and shot three times by Dickenson County Sheriff, Pridemore Fleming.
Prohibition Inspector James S. Mullins c. 1926
Prohibition Inspector James S. Mullins c. 1926
Mullins fumbled for his gun with his left hand (he had previously lost his right hand), and returned fire killing Fleming.  Mullins died of his own injuries two days later. Sheriff Fleming was known for violating prohibition laws, and he and Mullins had a history of not getting along. According to Sutherland’s testimony, Fleming seemed to be under the influence of alcohol during the shootout.

Ms. Cooper believes that the hole visible in Inspector Mullins’s holster is from one of the bullets that ultimately killed him.

Monday, April 11, 2016

4th USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo

The National Law Enforcement Museum is proud to be an Official Partner of the 4th USA Science & Engineering Festival, to be held April 16-17, 2016 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC.

What is the universe made of? Why did dinosaurs go extinct? What do magic tricks and hip-hop have to with math? What will be the next medical breakthrough? What does baseball have to do with physics? Find out at the 4th USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo where more than 350,000 K-12 students and parents, over 5,000 teachers and over 3,000 STEM professionals will experience the largest celebration of STEM!

Participants include more than 1,000 of the world's leading professional scientific and engineering societies, universities, government agencies, high tech corporations and STEM outreach and community organizations.

The two-day Expo is perfect for teens, children and their families, and anyone with a curious mind who is looking for a weekend of fun and discovery. Meet science celebrities like Grammy Award-winning alternative music band "They Might Be Giants!" and  Bill Nye the Science Guy!

For more information visit

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Forensic Detectives

Tag members discuss fun activities.
The Teacher Advisory Group met in February to start work on our new summer camp. The Forensic Detectives is a weeklong camp for middle school students debuting this summer. The camp will introduce students to the messy and meticulous world of forensic science and will provide participants with a greater understanding of our criminal justice system and STEM related careers in law enforcement.

TAG brainstormed topics that would interest middle school students like fingerprinting, DNA, interrogating witnesses, impressions, and pathology. Over the afternoon, TAG played around with fieldtrips, science experiments, and law enforcement activities to create a fun-filled camp allowing students to explore how law enforcement connects to science and technology. TAG members were delighted by the summer camp’s potential to inspire children to pursue a career in law enforcement or STEM-related fields.

The Forensic Detectives is a summer camp that will be offered free of charge to 24 middle school students that attend a Title 1 school in the District of Columbia. Participants will be selected through an essay contest.

To learn more please visit:

The Forensic Detectives is made possible by Battelle.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Event Recap: An Evening with Charles Ramsey

It was an evening filled with many stories, enough to fill a 47 year law enforcement career. The program began with Craig Floyd, Chairman and CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, welcoming the audience and introducing the night’s featured guest, Commissioner Charles Ramsey. Floyd outlined the Commissioner’s impressive career, serving first as an officer with the Chicago Police Department who rose through the ranks, then moving up to Chief of Police in Washington DC, and finally retiring as Police Commissioner for the Philadelphia (PA) PD in 2015.

Conversations on Law Enforcement: An Evening with Charles H. Ramsey
Conversations on Law Enforcement: An Evening with Charles H. Ramsey

Commissioner Ramsey began the program by telling the audience about how he “accidentally became a police officer.” As a young man, he worked in a grocery store where two officers frequently helped close up shop. One asked if he was interested in being a police officer. Despite plans to become a doctor, something about the offer had an appeal, including the fact that the department would pay for his college tuition. Ramsey signed up, became a cadet, and knew that police work was his calling.

Commissioner Ramsey remembered the challenging times police officers faced in Chicago during the 60s and 70s. This included the biggest controversy for the department at the time – integrating police cars. He said, “They called them salt and pepper cars.”
The Commissioner also shared how his philosophies on policing have changed over the years. “When asked what my fundamental duty is as a police officer, I used to say, ‘to enforce the law.’ Now I say that it is to protect the constitutional rights of all people. Those are two very different things.”  He also stressed the importance for officers “to strive to make every contact [with the public] as positive as possible,” and that the job really is ultimately about service.

Two of the biggest issues Commissioner Ramsey hopes to see change for police departments moving forward is a greater focus on community policing balanced with data driven systems, and more investment in the mental health of officers around the country.

In closing, Ramsey enthusiastically shared his support of the National Law Enforcement Museum being built, explaining its importance to the country. “[The Museum] captures the good, captures the bad, captures the real version of what police do. Without it, it would be left to Hollywood.”

Finally, Mr. Floyd thanked Commissioner Ramsey for what he has done for the families of officers who have died in the line of duty, acknowledging those in attendance who came to see him for that very reason.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Director’s Corner: Museum Construction Begins!

The National Law Enforcement Museum has officially secured the necessary financing to construct and complete our future home on E Street in Washington, DC. We crossed the finish line in late January when we closed on the sale of a number of municipal bonds that will finance the project. The DC Government has issued the building permit and the U.S. Department of the Interior has authorized us to proceed with construction which will commence this month — a major milestone for the museum and our team.

We are excited to be working with Clark Construction, our general contractor, headquartered in neighboring Bethesda, Maryland. Clark is known for their museum experience and has worked on the National Museum of the American Indian, the U.S. Institute of Peace Headquarters & Global Peace Center, and the National Museum of African American History & Culture to name a few.

To keep you updated on the Museum’s progress we will be setting up a webcam to stream the construction process. Check out the next Museum Insider for a link to the camera and in the meantime, please visit for more details about the project.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Celebrating 25 Years Since the Dedication of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial

In honor of the 25th anniversary of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, dedicated on October 15, 1991, the Museum Insider will showcase the number 25 in a new feature each month throughout 2016. So stay tuned! To kick things off, enjoy a few bits of law enforcement trivia.