Thursday, December 4, 2014

When Police Shoot: A Dialogue on the Use of Force

Last night, the National Law Enforcement Museum and The Memorial Foundation, builders of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, hosted the Museum’s inaugural Conversations on Law Enforcement panel discussion entitled: When Police Shoot: A Dialogue on the Use of Force in the US Navy Memorial’s Burke Theater. The event provided an opportunity for a national discussion on police training and procedure, and the use of force.

Craig Floyd, Chairman & CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, kicked off the event by welcoming the nearly 150  guests in attendance, and thanking the event’s sponsor, Target®, and co-host, Harry Johnson, President & CEO of the Friends of the Memorial Foundation. Mr. Johnson briefly spoke about the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington DC, and encouraged the panelists, audience and general public to bring forth the four tenants of the Memorial: justice, hope, love and democracy.

Panelists for this event included DeKalb County (GA) Chief of Police and the President of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) Cedric L. Alexander, PhD, and  former Cincinnati (OH) Chief of Police Thomas Streicher, Jr., and Reverend Tom Watson, Chief minister of Watson Memorial Training Ministry in New Orleans, LA. The event was moderated by BET television host Jeff Johnson.

View CSPAN video taken during this event.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Policing the Cyber World: Three FBI Agents' Perspectives on Digital Crime

Cybercrime has been a security threat since the early days of Silicon Valley. This new criminal frontier required law enforcement to adapt with new tools and techniques. Today the FBI’s Cyber Division administers a national program to combat digital threats, but in the early years small, underfunded task forces led the way. The National Law Enforcement Museum’s growing oral history collection includes some unique first-hand perspectives on the development of cyber policing. Follow the development of the FBI’s fight against cybercrime through the experiences of three FBI agents.


Jim Freeman
Special Agent in Charge of the San Francisco Office
1993-1996
In 1993, Jim Freeman took his new position in San Francisco located near the heart of the US technology boom in Silicon Valley. Freeman understood the threat of cybercrime early on and setup a high tech theft squad in the Palo Alto residence office. Freeman also saw first-hand how the FBI’s outdated equipment affected his team when pursuing the Unabomber. “The FBI operated in those days using a teletype system, which required an FBI agent to…dictate a teletype [to a stenographer]...Then it goes into the teletype room where another individual… retypes it onto a teletype machine... And when it’s received on the other end there’s a whole other laborious process.” You can read the transcript of Freeman’s complete oral history here.

Jana Monroe
Assistant Director of Cyber Division
2002-2004
In the late 1990s, cybercrime grew exponentially and small cyber squads like Freeman’s Palo Alto operation were implemented across the country. In 2002, FBI Director Robert Mueller appointed Jana Monroe as the first Assistant Director of the FBI’s Cyber Division. Monroe recalled, “The FBI had been working cybercrimes for quite a while, but not with a program in place, so it was just various entities within the field office[s]…But the Director, and rightly so, seeing that cyber was certainly a crime of the future…wanted to make a program out of it and have it funded.” Read more about Monroe’s experiences here.

J. Keith Mularski
Special Agent at the National Cyber Forensics and Training Alliance
2005–2012
Part of the new group of tech-focused agents, Mularski’s introduction to cybercrime began with his transfer to the National Cyber Forensics and Training Alliance in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "When I came to cyber in 2005, my view of cyber crime was war games and Matthew Broderick sitting in the basement trying to hack into the Pentagon, and it couldn’t be further from the truth…[the criminals] are very structured.” Mularski’s biggest case to-date was the 2008 infiltration and dismantling of DarkMarket, one of the world’s Top 10 virtual black markets for illegal goods and services. Learn here how Mularski became Master Splyntr and more about his experience in the FBI.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tenth Witness to History Event Recounts the Investigation of the Unabomber


On Saturday, September 20th, 140 people attended the National Law Enforcement Museum’s Witness to History: Investigating the Unabomber program, held in partnership with the Newseum in their Knight Studio in Washington, DC and generously sponsored by Target. The program was the tenth in the Witness to History series. Panelists included Jim Freeman, Donald Max Noel, and Terry Turchie, three principal members of the Task force credited with apprehending the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski. Their experiences are documented in a new book, Unabomber: How the FBI Broke Its own Rules to Capture the Terrorist Ted Kaczynski.

The event kicked off with opening remarks from Memorial Fund Chairman and CEO Craig Floyd. Floyd was followed by discussion moderator, John Maynard from the Newseum, who prompted  panelists to recount their experiences while serving on the Unabomber task force. Topics included how the task force changed their policies in order to find and capture the Unabomber, and the importance of the 35,000 word manifesto that the Kaczynski sent to major newspapers.

Kaczynski sent homemade bombs that targeted universities, airlines and computer stores, killing three people and injuring 23 others. The search for the Unabomber became one of the largest and most expensive cases in FBI history, spanning almost 17 years, involving a file consisting of 59,000 volumes of information, and thousands of viable suspects.

Turchie, assistant Special Agent in charge of the task force, discussed how the FBI changed their strategies in order to apprehend the Unabomber. Turchie and Freeman came onto the task force towards the end of the investigation, when morale was low and not much progress was occurring. “They’d worked really hard, they’d been there a long time, and they were just tired,” Turchie said. Each member of the task force was encouraged to choose a partner in the hopes that if one was having a down day, the other could bring spirits up and help promote creativity.

Regarding the importance of the manifesto Freeman, Special Agent in charge of the task force, said that it is difficult to find a criminal when they are not communicating. However, “once [a criminal] starts communicating, you have an opportunity for lead material to develop. And the Unabomber had been quiet for about seven years up until he started bombing again in 1993 … and he started writing letters.”

The manifesto allowed the task force to get an idea of who the Unabomber was. Turchie described how the manifesto became a major clue in the case saying, “We spent months really reading and trying to understand the manifesto. And by the time we had someone step forward that could help us bring it together, we were already on those trails and we were able to go back and pull those pieces together.” The manifesto, which was published in media outlets like The Washington Post and The New York Times at the urging of the FBI, brought forward the most crucial tip from the Unabomber’s own brother. David Kaczynski recognized the language and ideas of his brother, Ted, and had his attorney contact the FBI with the tip.

The discussion then moved on to the identification and capture of the Unabomber. Noel was  sent to investigate in Montana, where the Unabomber was hiding. He described  seeing Ted Kaczynski  for the first time: “I saw him a month before we actually took him into custody … I walked, along with his neighbor, up a skid road. And when we were about 40 yards away from his cabin, in a clearing, he opened up the door of his cabin and stuck his head out. And my first response was, ‘My God is that what we've been looking for all these years?’ He was a wild looking person; he had on an orange knit cap. You know, you conjure up an image of who you think you’re looking for over the years … and he’s this guy living in this little dinky cabin … that just amazed me.” Noel then went on to describe Kaczynski’s arrest. “It went like we planned it,” he said. There was no struggle.

At the end of the discussion, there was a Question and Answer session with audience members, after which guests were then invited to a reception in the Newseum. Everyone was encouraged to view the Unabomber’s Cabin, which will be on exhibit until January 15, 2015 in the Newseum’s G-Men and Journalists Exhibit.

The National Law Enforcement Museum would like to, again, thank Target® for sponsoring our Witness to History programs and the Newseum for partnering on this event.

For those unable to attend, a recording of the program can be viewed here on C-SPAN’s website. Thank you to everyone who attended the event and stay tuned for more Witness to History Events.



Friday, August 8, 2014

Director's Corner: SWAT Exhibit

One goal of the National Law Enforcement Museum has always been to represent the diversity of American law enforcement, both in the individuals who serve and the jobs they do. One exhibit, called Being an Officer, does just that by examining different types of specialized units, including Corrections, Bomb Squads, K9 Units, and SWAT Teams.

The SWAT section will be especially exciting, giving visitors an inside look into this inherently intense and action-packed job.  With the push of a button, an otherwise peaceful scene quickly becomes a dangerous situation that requires the intervention of tactical officers--and  visitors get to watch as the action unfolds. This 90-second two-story projection demonstrates the professional and efficient tactics used by SWAT to control a high-risk situation and ensure the safety of everyone involved.

To get the full picture of SWAT, visitors will learn how long tactical officers have been around and how they came into being. Many people do not know that tactical teams began to develop in response to a number of violent incidents that had occurred across the United States during the 1960s. Single-shooter incidents—such as the Texas Tower Shooting in 1966—had an impact, but SWAT was established mainly in response to the growth of armed, well-organized militant groups like the Black Panthers and the Symbionese Liberation Army.

This look at history combined with descriptions of duties and significant turning points in the profession will make for an exhibit that will grab visitors' attention and teach them something about what being a tactical officer really means.

Elevation of SWAT Audio/Visual Presentation in the Museum


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Artifact Spotlight: Lorton Prison Cells


video

Workers removing the cell bars and doors from the 
maximum security section of Lorton Prison for the Museum.

In July 2014, the National Law Enforcement Museum acquired an important historical artifact that is a key component of the exhibit design—30 feet of steel cell doors and bars from the former Lorton Correction Complex in Lorton, Virginia

Lorton was the primary corrections facility for the District of Columbia for nearly 100 years. Conceived in 1908 during Theodore Roosevelt’s administration, the Lorton facility was a national model for prison reform both with its dormitory style architecture and its philosophy of providing prisoners with healthy outdoor work and education. Over the years, Lorton became dangerously overcrowded and its buildings in need of extensive repair. In 2001, the prison was closed and all 1 million square feet of it was transferred to Fairfax County, Virginia

A design drawing of the two-story Maximum Security cells restored and re-created in the Museum.
The Museum thanks Chris Caperton of Fairfax County’s Department of Planning and Zoning for allowing us to extract the cells at the right time during the County’s extensive redevelopment plan for the old prison and grounds. The National Law Enforcement Museum is proud to make the cells of Lorton a centerpiece of its exhibition on corrections officers.

 
Scenes from Old Lorton Prison, 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014

19th Century True Crime – Crime May Not Pay, but it Sells

THE CORN DOCTOR OF GOTHAM.
An expert who whittles toes and never
loses a chance to take a hack at the
heart of any patient whose sentiments
are as tender as her feet.

Collection of the
National Law Enforcement Museum.
2006.332.27
Detective stories have been around for centuries. But even as a source of entertainment, their appeal has evolved over time. The advent of the steam press in the early 19th century made the first cheap newspapers and serials affordable to the masses. This “penny press” seized on the popularity of crime stories and set about to feed the public’s interest. One such publication was the Police Gazette. When first published in 1845, it saw itself as a newspaper “devoted to the interests of criminal police.” These noble intentions, however, did not last long, and within a few years, the Gazette had lost all pretensions of being anything but a sensational crime rag. Around this same time, the depiction of crime transformed from somber moral stories to titillating tales.  Even the accompanying illustrations became more graphic and excessive, eventually evolving into the more realistic styles and depictions seen in recent true crime books and pamphlets.

During the mid-1800s, the fascination with these stories was edged with fear, as Americans became increasingly distrustful of the burgeoning immigrant populations in major US cities. Sensational headlines in newspapers touted crime as a problem and the abolition of the old, corrupt, inept watch system and the creation of a new full-time professional police as its solution.  The news media’s focus on crime and the inadequacies of the crime prevention system led to police reforms in most the major cities.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Director's Corner: PTSD Awareness Month

“Imagine the most horrific things that happen in this city that no one really hears about or sees. Homicides, rapes, car accidents, violent assaults, this is the kind of stuff we deal with on a daily basis.”

As you might know, June is PTSD Awareness Month. This quote (above)—from a Canadian law enforcement officer—conveys the magnitude of anxiety-inducing encounters officers may face. The National Center for PTSD encourages us to learn about posttraumatic stress and spread the word about effective treatment, connect with others to work together, and share information to support those in need.

PTSD may manifest in varying symptoms, which could develop soon after the traumatic event, or months or years later. Some common indicators  include reliving the event, avoiding situations that remind you of the event, negative changes in beliefs and feelings, and feeling keyed up or jittery.

This disorder can affect anyone who has an especially distressing experience, but law enforcement officers may be more susceptible to triggers due to the work they do. According to Cop Shock: Surviving Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), by A R Kates, as many as one in three police officers may suffer from PTSD, which could lead to depression, family issues, addictions, and in some cases, suicide.

A study published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress found that of 37 police officers who had been involved in serious shooting incidents between 1977 and 1984, seventeen (46%) were diagnosed with PTSD. Of those who were not immediately diagnosed, 17 still had notable PTSD symptoms. Only three officers showed no symptoms of PTSD at all.

The National Law Enforcement Museum is being built to tell the story of American law enforcement and make it safer for those who serve. Raising awareness about real dangers that affect the lives of officers, like PTSD, is essential to our mission. Do your part to learn, connect, and share today.

Sources: 




RoboCop Trivia

In honor of Detroit celebrating its first ever RoboCop Day this month, Museum staff thought it would be fun to shed some light on this futuristic cop character and the making of the RoboCop movies. How much do you know about the part-man, part-machine phenom known as RoboCop?


When wearing the full RoboCop costume, actor Peter Weller was too bulky to fit into his police car. That's why most shots show him exiting the car or preparing to get into it. When he needed to be in the car, he only wore the top part of the costume and sat in his underwear.

Concerned that various police forces would object to the scene of the title character throwing his nemesis, Clarence Boddicker, through glass while reading his rights, the producers had a preliminary screening for an audience of police officers. It turns out that the officers were delighted at the sight of the hero getting tough with a murderer in a way that they couldn't.

In Sacramento, California a robbery suspect fled into a darkened movie theatre to escape pursuing police. He became so engrossed in the movie playing on screen—RoboCop—that he failed to notice that police had evacuated all other patrons from the theatre. When the lights flipped on, the stunned man was taken into custody.

Even though the movie was set in Detroit, Michigan, most urban scenes in RoboCop were filmed in Dallas, Texas, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. RoboCop 2 was filmed mostly in Houston, Texas, and RoboCop 3 was filmed in Atlanta, Georgia.

While filming the scene of the first movie where RoboCop catches a set of car keys, the foam rubber hands of Peter Weller’s costume made grasping the keys quite a challenge. It took around 50 takes and a day’s worth of filming to finally get the scene right.

The RoboCop suit for RoboCop 2 (which can be seen in the Museum when it opens) is constructed out of Fiberglass. It made it easier for actor, Peter Weller, to move in the suit and gave it a more metallic look.

One of the major plot elements of RoboCop 2 is when the city of Detroit must declare bankruptcy, something the city actually ended up doing in 2013.

Source: IMDb.com

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Happy RoboCop Day!

That’s right. The city of Detroit, Michigan is celebrating the first official RoboCop Day today. To top off the day, RoboCop will throw the opening pitch at the Detroit Tigers game tonight.

Given the National Law Enforcement Museum’s recent installation of Peter Weller’s RoboCop costume from RoboCop 2, we thought it would be appropriate to celebrate this half-man, half-machine crime fighter along with them. Take a look at what it took to assemble the costume in our office.

According to the Detroit Free Press, “An announcement was to be made today about a RoboCop statue that’s expected to be installed in Detroit this year, but that event and a police meet-and-greet were cancelled.” No word yet on when this statue will be officially installed, but in the meantime, you can look forward to seeing the original costume at the National Law Enforcement Museum when it opens.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Director’s Corner: Boston Marathon Bomber Handcuffs Donated to Museum

The Museum received a significant artifact during National Police Week this year. On May 12, Chief Paul MacMillan, of the MBTA Transit Police Department, presented Museum staff with the handcuffs used to restrain Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving brother of the duo identified as suspects in the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. (Pictured left: Museum Executive Director Joe Urschel, MBTA Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan, Memorial Fund Chairman & CEO Craig W. Floyd.)

According to Chief MacMillan, the cuffs belonged to Transit Police Officer Saro Thompson, who, together with a multi-jurisdictional SWAT team—including officers from the Revere and Malden (MA) Police Departments—restrained and arrested Tsarnaev three days after the bombing, on April 18.

Earlier that day, the Tsarnaev brothers were suspected of ambushing and killing MIT Patrol Officer Sean Collier, parked on the university’s campus. Chief MacMillan noted that the suspects tried several times to remove Collier’s gun from its holster, one that was specially designed to resist attempts to “snatch” a weapon from an officer. The fact that the Tsarnaev brothers were unable to steal Officer Collier’s weapon, due to the holster he used, probably saved many lives.

Officer Sean Collier’s name was among the 286 that were added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial this year during the 26th annual Candlelight Vigil.

Artifact Spotlight: The Stories behind the Names

"Where Policeman Was Killed in Wild Bandit Chase,"
August 22, 1931.
Over the last eight years, the staff of the National Law Enforcement Museum has acquired thousands of artifacts, researched hundreds of stories, and browsed through tons of photographs. All in an effort to better understand the story of American law enforcement.

Sometimes in that effort we happen upon an image or an artifact that connects back to a name we already know—the name of an officer engraved on the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

The Museum recently acquired three photographs that related to two fallen officers who were killed 83 years ago: Patrolman Edwin V. Churchill and Patrolman Walter J. Webb of the New York (NY) Police Department.

"Cops Examine Guns Used by Bandits in
Wild Chase that Took Six Lives," August 22, 1931.
These patrolmen were both shot and killed, on August 21, 1931, during a running shootout through the Bronx and Manhattan with two bandits in a stolen taxicab. Four civilians also died in the shootout, which was widely covered in the newspapers at the time, though mostly forgotten today.

Examining those photographs, and other items like them, can be a solemn reminder of lives lost. But it is also exciting to know that with each piece of information and each historical artifact, the knowledge the Museum holds of the life and times of that fallen officer becomes richer and deeper. The more we know, the better we will tell the story when the Museum opens.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Meggitt Researcher Talks to Teacher Advisory Group about the Science of Fear

On March 22, the National Law Enforcement Museum’s Teacher Advisory Group (TAG)—composed of primary and secondary level educators who teach in public and private schools in Washington, DC; Maryland; and Virginia—had the opportunity to learn from a seasoned and innovative law enforcement professional.

TAG meets quarterly to advise Museum staff on practical classroom applications and program ideas leading up to the Museum’s opening. During the last meeting, the group heard from Major Randall Murphy (Ret.), Director of Advanced Immersion Technologies for Meggitt Training Systems. Major Murphy travelled from Georgia to present his experience in directing groundbreaking research on a gripping subject: combat stress and its effects on police officers in a virtual environment (and by extension, in the field). The presentation was truly eye-opening for our teachers—it provided insight into how hard it is for officers to make split-second decisions in extreme stress conditions. Major Murphy’s findings conveyed how vital simulated training is for officers, and how it saves lives.
 photo meggit_simulator_zpsf4267e89.gif
Part of the video presented by Major Murphy. 
We are thrilled that Meggitt Training Systems has generously agreed to donate one of their training simulators to the Museum. The simulator will be a key experience—the most immersive opportunity visitors will have to walk in an officer’s shoes. As part of their donation, Meggitt Training Systems is also giving the Museum and its Teacher Advisory Group access to some of their amazing trainers and researchers.

Major Murphy’s advice and input will ensure that this experience in the Museum will be the most authentic that visitors can have. The virtual experience may not be real, but it is intense. Visitors will be forewarned!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Event Recap | Witness to History: DarkMarket & the FBI Agent who Became Master Splyntr

Last night, the National Law Enforcement Museum held the ninth event in our Witness to History series, sponsored by Target. For the second time, the Museum partnered with the International Spy Museum, our host for a great evening and fascinating program: DarkMarket & the FBI Agent who Became Master Splyntr.

Craig Floyd, Chairman & CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, kicked off the program by welcoming the nearly 150 guests in attendance, and thanking the event’s sponsor, Target, and host, Peter Earnest, Executive Director of the Spy Museum. He then introduced the panel moderator, Shawn Henry, former Assistant Director of the FBI and current President of CrowdStrike Services; and panelists, J. Keith Mularski, FBI Supervisory Special Agent; and Kevin Poulsen, Investigations Editor of WIRED Magazine.

 

An expert on the topic of cyber crime, Shawn Henry reminded the audience that everything we do is being transmitted and stored digitally—hence why it is an incredibly important issue. He explained that, cyber crime is a lot like organized crime groups from the past. “Just like in dark alleys in your cities, but instead they’re virtual,” he said.

One of those virtual dark alleys was called DarkMarket, an international one-stop shop for selling stolen personal credit and identity information online. It became a hub for underground criminal enterprise, with over 2,500 registered members at its peak. Both panelists brought unique perspectives to the DarkMarket case and the topic of cyber crime—Keith Mularski from the view of an undercover agent who ran the site, remaining mostly undetected for two years (2006-2008), and Kevin Poulsen from the view of a reporter (and former hacker) uncovering emerging technologies and their effects on society.

Agent Mularski and other agents involved with DarkMarket had to work with law enforcement in several countries, including Germany, the United Kingdom, and Turkey. The successful case ended with more than 60 worldwide arrests and the prevention of some $70 million in financial loss.

Best advice for protecting yourself from cyber attacks? I.T. professionals need to stay ahead and make sure all networks are protected with the most up-to-date firewalls.

Thank you to all who were able to join us! Stay tuned for our next Witness to History event.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Five Fascinating Facts About Philadelphia's Moyamensing Prison

Collection of the National Law Enforcement Museum 2013.29.159
The Museum’s recently-acquired collection of more than 200 historic law enforcement photographs contains a small number of ca. 1880 stereoview cards (also known as stereoscopic photographs or stereographs). One stereoview image features a unique view of the the Moyamensing Prison in Philadelphia. This prison, described as being “built for the ages” in an 1839 history of Philadelphia, opened in 1835 and was demolished in 1968. A little research revealed several “arresting” facts about the prison.
  1. The architect of the U.S. Capitol Building, Thomas Ustick Walter, also designed the Moyamensing Prison. Walter, who designed the wings and dome of the Capitol and created its modern, iconic appearance, served as the fourth Architect of the Capitol. He began his architectural career with the design of Moyamensing, a combination of Gothic and Egyptian Revival styles. Considered a humane design for its time, the prison was constructed over three years, from 1832-35.

  2. Edgar Allen Poe was once imprisoned there…  Apparently, Poe became drunk and suicidal one night in 1849. He was arrested for public drunkenness, slept it off in prison, and was released the next day.

  3. …and so was Al Capone (but for only one night).  On May 16, 1929, Capone and his body guard Frank Cline were arrested in Philadelphia by Detectives James “Shooey” Malone and Jack Creedon. They both spent at least one night in several penal institutions in the area, including Moyamensing.  Later Capone was transferred to Eastern State Penitentiary and was released several months later.

  4. Moyamensing was the site of Pennsylvania’s last execution by hanging in 1916. In 1834, Pennsylvania was the first state to abolish public hangings, which had become notorious public spectacles. Each county thereafter carried out “private hangings” within the walls of the institution until hangings were replaced with electric chair executions.

  5. America’s first known serial killer, H.H. Holmes, was hanged at Moyamensing. Herman Webster Mudgett, also known as Dr. H. H. Holmes, was one of the earliest-known serial killers in the United States. A swindler and scam artist, he became notorious for his killings, when, during the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, he lured victims to his infamous “murder castle” by offering his large home as a hotel. His killing spree horrified and fascinated the public, and he was hanged for his crimes in May 1896 at Moyamensing.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Bog Sticks – Irish Officers Continuing a Tradition

The Irish potato famine of the 1840s brought thousands of Irish immigrants to New York and other American cities. Unfortunately, many were not welcome, particularly when it came to seeking employment. By 1870, due to widespread political corruption, a more objective system of hiring people for municipal jobs was put in place. Called the Civil Service System, it was an outgrowth of the Civil Service Act passed by Congress in 1871. This gave everyone, including people of Irish descent, a more equal opportunity for finding employment in jobs like policing.

Bog Stick from the Collection of the National Law Enforcement Museum.
2006.488.25
In the 1870s-80s, a common tool of the trade for police officers was a club. Most officers purchased their own, which all looked similar in appearance. Unimpressed with the American clubs, many new Irish-American police officers sent home to have special ones made, modeled after “shillelaghs.” These clubs are named after a forest in Ireland, home to the oak trees from which the tools are constructed. It is thought that this tradition is what led Irish-Americans to carry bog sticks (like the one pictured above), clubs made of bog oak, which was unique to the ancient peat bogs of Ireland. Bog sticks were typically quite decorative while also heavy and able to deliver a hearty blow if necessary.

Source: 
Forte, Matthew G.  American Police Equipment: A Guide to Early Restraints, Clubs & Lanterns. Turn of the Century Publishers, New Jersey: 2000.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Museum Receives Incredible Photograph Collection

The National Law Enforcement Museum is thrilled to announce the recent acquisition of a unique and impressively documented collection of photographs that once belonged in the collection of Dr. Stanley Burns, of The Burns Archive. Thanks to the donation by Alice Dana in honor of Dr. Burns, the Museum now boasts photographs that document numerous events from law enforcement history, including Queen Elizabeth’s first visit to the United States (in 1957), Fidel Castro’s visit to the United States (in 1959), various officers on duty during the 1970s, and a range of high profile murder cases from the 1950-70s.

Take a peek at a few gems from this collection of over 200 photographs:

Monday, January 13, 2014

"A day I will never forget." –Special Agent Tom McDade, November 27, 1934

Tom McDade’s FBI application photo,
courtesy of the FBI.
Recently, the Museum was offered the opportunity to preserve and utilize an amazing piece of 1930s FBI history. Ray Batvinis, of the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI, introduced us to Jared McDade, who was looking for a way to share a 1934-1938 diary that belonged to his father, Special Agent Tom McDade.

Upon review, Museum staff found that Agent McDade’s 318-page diary includes firsthand accounts about some big players in the 1930s FBI and gangster scene. Unlike the (somewhat dry) official FBI reports, McDade’s diary offers a window into his life as an FBI agent, from everyday details to thrilling car chases and shootouts.

November 27, 1934 Thursday. A day I will never forget. What follows is a riveting description of McDade’s and an agent named Ryan’s encounter with Baby Face Nelson and his associates.

They turned again and running about 40-45 miles per hour they ran along side and the driver yelled to us to pull over. A man in the back seat had a rifle or tommy pointed at us. I stepped on the gas and ran down road and they opened fire. The plunk of the shots sounded on our rear. We bent low and Ryan started firing through the rear window with an automatic. I kept the accelerator to the floor and ran about 72-75 M.P.H. We drew away from them but they continued to follow. We looked for a road to turn off to phone or get to cover from their guns but had to run…In trying to turn in I went too fast ran off the road and into a field. We jumped from the car and Ryan borrowed an attendant’s at a gas station to get to a phone. I watched the road but they didn’t follow. Purvis advised us to come back...

McDade and his partner managed to escape Nelson. Unfortunately, two other FBI agents, Hollis and Cowley, weren’t so lucky. Later in the day, Nelson and his associates shot and killed Special Agent Hollis. Special Agent Cowley would pass the next day of his mortal wounds.

Agents searched for Nelson over night with no luck. Later Nelson was found dead from the injuries he sustained in the battle with Hollis and Cowley. McDade wrote of the aftermath in his diary: At the office 6 PM and on all night. Did some accounting problems then sat in a poker game from 2 AM to 6:30 AM. Everybody was just waiting for an emergency call.

Jared McDade (holding his father's diary) and Craig W. Floyd,
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund Chairman & CEO
This is just one story from the rich pages of Tom McDade’s diary. Many thanks to the McDade family and Ray Batvinis for giving the Museum the opportunity to use this truly fascinating resource, to capture some real stories of American law enforcement—as seen through Agent McDade's eyes—and share them with Museum visitors.

Learn more about Agent McDade and his diary.