The National Law Enforcement Museum opened on Saturday in Washington, D.C.'s Judiciary Square, located just blocks from the National Mall. The goal of the museum is simple: to give the average American an idea of what law enforcement officers go through on a daily basis and what working conditions are like.
“People are, hopefully, going to come away with a better understanding and appreciation of the value and the vital role that law enforcement plays in our society,” CEO Craig Floyd told Fox News.
According to Dave Brant, the museum's executive director and a former director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NICS), the museum's contents can be useful for creating a new dialogue across the country.
“This facility, I think, will help us to educate, inform, create dialogue, around both the history of law enforcement, the current status of law enforcement, some of the tools law enforcement utilizes and really be a platform for discussion about some of the toughest issues that face our country where law enforcement plays a critical role,” Brant told WTOP-TV.
The museum features various artifacts, like the red phone that received the very first 911 call, the desk J. Edgar Hoover used when he was FBI director and even the bulletproof vest Al Capone wore.
One of the must unique aspects of the museum are the interactive experiences museum goers can participate in, like whether or not you would shoot an armed suspect.
“Hopefully, people will come away with the sense that police are the public, and the public are the police,” Floyd told Fox News.
West Chester University criminology students Nyara Sparks and Praise Robinson visited the museum on opening day to learn more about what they wanted to do in the law enforcement profession.
“It gives you hands on experience. A lot of people go into criminal justice not knowing what they want to do and this is a good touch,” Robinson told WTOP.
The museum has been in the works since 1998, when Floyd's former boss and NYPD officer Congressman Mario Biaggi (D) drafted legislation that established the law enforcement memorial that currently sits across the street. Those behind the memorial wanted to continue their efforts but they wanted to do something to "educate people about the role of law enforcement in our society," which is where the museum comes in.
Congress voted to give the museum federal land but one of the requirements was that the majority of the museum be placed underground because of the history in Judiciary Square. Because of that, two of the three floors are underground.
Fox News got an exclusive look before the opening on Saturday:
The museum is located at 444 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001 and open Sunday through Saturday from 10 am to 6 p.m., with extended hours until 9 p.m. on Thursdays.
Admission is $21.95 for adults, $19.95 for seniors and college students, $17.65 for law enforcement and military members with an ID, $14.95 for children 6 and up and free for children 5 and under.