Thursday, October 22, 2015

262nd Session of FBI National Academy Hosts Ceremony at Memorial

The murder of Police Officer Randolph Holder of the New York Police Department the previous night made the Memorial Service for the 262nd Session of the FBI National Academy on Wednesday, October 21, a more somber experience for those in attendance.

Memorial Fund CEO and Chairman Craig W. Floyd spoke to the several academy members on the warm fall evening about the importance of law enforcement in our country. He addressed Officer Holder’s death by a “career criminal,” a man who had a long history of committing crimes. Officer Holder, like every officer, ran toward the danger.

Floyd said the country has forgotten about the unity with law enforcement that took over after the attacks on September 11, 2001. He recalled being taken down to Ground Zero in a patrol car soon after the World Trade Center towers came down, and being moved by the sight of the crowd  applauding the first responders as they made their way past.

Near the end of the ceremony, names of several fallen officers were read, and a wreath was placed at the center of the Memorial.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Witness to History: Boston Marathon Bombing

Seat by seat, the rows filled in the Burke Theater of the U.S. Navy Memorial Museum on Wednesday, October 7. Many came from across the East Coast to listen to three officials talk about the investigation and manhunt following one of the most recent terrorist attacks in our nation’s homeland. As part of the Witness to History series, the National Law Enforcement Museum provided the audience a chance to listen to first-hand accounts of what happened in the days following the Boston Marathon Bombing.

On April 15, 2013, Boston Marathon fans lined the streets of the region to cheer on the runners, an annual tradition for which the city is famous. No one would’ve suspected that this race would be any different than the ones before it. Unfortunately, two pressure cooker bombs near the finish line on Boylston Street set off a four-day chase for brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev through several Boston-area towns.

U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Carmen M. Ortiz was in her office in Downtown Boston when the blasts occurred. “The news of the explosions just spread like wildfire,” she said. Ortiz also referenced the how the media both helped and hurt the investigation, pointing out how the media reported the arrest of a suspect early on when it wasn’t case. But they also provided the public with the information to assist in tracking down the suspects, which led to the arrest of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Watertown, Massachusetts.

It was after midnight on April 19, 2013, four days after the bombing and shortly after MIT Police Officer Sean A. Collier was killed by the same suspects in Cambridge, when Watertown Sgt. John MacLellan and his team came upon the Tsarnaev brothers. A gunfight ensued where the officers came under fire from bullets and small bombs. “This is something you couldn’t train for in our department,” Sgt. McLellan recalled to the audience. “It was more like a war zone than a street fight.” Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in the battle from gunshot wounds and having been run over by his fleeing younger brother.

Later that day, a 911 call came in from a Watertown resident who noticed suspicious activity in his backyard. Former FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers described the situation. “A call came in from David Henneberry who, after noticing a weather wrap was loose on his boat, looked inside and saw Dzhokhar Tsarnaev alive and sleeping,” he said. He was later captured by police, bringing an end to a manhunt that captured the attention of the nation, and put the city of Boston on edge.

Each panelist shared how incredibly moved they were by Boston and Watertown residents who came together in the aftermath of the bombings and the display of strength and resilience of the victims and their families. Sgt. McLellan praised a family in Watertown, who allowed officers to use their bathroom during the search, and said the experience had brought the community together. DesLauriers said it was the local, state and federal law enforcement agencies working together that played a role in the capture of the suspect.

The Museum’s Witness to History program began in June 2011. Since the inaugural event, 11 more have been presented. Video recordings and photos from the events are availableto view on the Museum’s website.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

One Righteous Man: Samuel Battle and the Shattering of the Color Line in New York

One Righteous Man: Samuel Battle and the Shattering of the Color Line in New York
Purchase Book
Arthur Browne explores the desegregation of the New York Police Department through the extraordinary life of Samuel Battle in One Righteous Man: Samuel Battle and the Shattering of the Color Line in New York.

On June 28, 1911, Samuel Jesse Battle, badge number 782, became the first black policeman in the NYPD. On that day, Police Commissioner Rhinelander Waldo told him, “You will have some difficulties, but I know you will overcome them.” Thus began Battle’s four decadelong career. Along the way Battle pushed through the ranks of the NYPD, navigated the murky waters of Tammany Hall politics, and became a founding citizen of black Harlem. Battle also pushed for equality in all of the city’s civil services, including mentoring Wesley Williams, the first black fire fighter in the New York Fire Department.

Battle’s career was never easy. He faced discrimination and threats even before taking the civil service exam, and Battle’s first day at the Twenty-Eighth Precinct was no different. He was greeted with silence, disdain, and a cot in the precinct’s flag storage loft instead of the dormitory. Years later Battle would recount his feelings to Langston Hughes, his autobiographer for a time, about enduring such abuse.
Sometimes, lying on my cot on the top floor in the silence, I would wonder how it was that many of the patrolmen in my precinct who did not yet speak English well, had no such difficulties in getting on the police force as I, a Negro American, had experienced…My name had been passed over repeatedly. All sorts of discouragements had been placed in my path. And now, after a long wait and a lot of stalling, I had finally been given a trial appointment to their ranks and these men would not speak to me. Native-born and foreign-born whites on the police force all united in looking past me as though I were not a human being. In the loft in the dark, with the Stars and Stripes, I wondered! Why?

Friday, August 21, 2015

VALOR Officer Safety Conference on September 17-18

On September 17-18, the VALOR Initiative will host an officer safety conference in Hurst, TX, providing officers with the opportunity to learn about varied topics including emerging threats and challenges, casualty care and rescue tactics, and pre-incident indicators of a potential assault. You can view the full, two-day agenda here.

Along with a wide array of law enforcement experts and researchers, Memorial Fund CEO Craig W. Floyd and Nick Breul, Director of Officer Safety and Wellness Initiative, will both be in attendance lending their expertise on the threats facing our officers. Additionally, there will be presentations by representatives from Dallas, who were recipients of our Destination Zero National Officer Safety and Officer Wellness Award in the category of officer safety for their trauma kits, and Yolo County, CA S.O who won in the traffic safety category for reducing at fault vehicle crashes.

Since the inception of the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) VALOR Initiative in 2010, a total of 153 VALOR officer safety training sessions have been conducted, impacting over 19,000 law enforcement officers. The training continues to be positively received by officers across the country.

There is no registration fee for this conference, but space is limited. Enrollment is reserved for currently sworn law enforcement personnel. Federal registrants will be placed on a wait list pending availability. Register today.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

IHIA Symposium Lays Wreath at Memorial

Attendees of the 2015 International Homicide Investigators Association symposium in Washington, DC, gathered at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial on the evening of Tuesday, August 18, to lay a wreath in honor of the more than 20,000 law enforcement officers whose names are on the Memorial walls.

Memorial Fund Chairman and CEO Craig Floyd welcomed the guests and spoke of the annual candlelight vigil ceremony held at the Memorial during National Police Week in May, a tradition since the Memorial was dedicated in 1991. He also shared a story about the special guest and keynote speaker for the second candlelight vigil in 1992, radio host Paul Harvey.

“I picked him up that day at the airport and I brought him to the Memorial,” Floyd started, “and I walked along the west wall behind me until I got to panel 60W, Line 18. And as we were walking, he became impatient, and he said, ‘Craig, where is his name?’ His father, Harry Aurandt, had been shot and killed in December of 1921, when Paul Harvey was three years old. Paul Harvey’s father’s name is proudly inscribed on these Memorial walls, along with more than 20,000 others.

“And when I finally pointed to his name on that wall, Paul Harvey, a world-renowned gentleman who, at that time, was in his seventies, got down on his knees. He touched his father’s name and began sobbing. It touched him to see his nation had not forgotten his father after all these years, that his story would continue to be told at these Memorial grounds.”

Monday, August 17, 2015

Minnesota Twins Host Inaugural Law Enforcement Night

On Saturday, August 15, on a very hot and humid night in the Twin Cities, the Minnesota Twins took on the Cleveland Indians at Target Field in downtown Minneapolis. A crowd of over 30,000 was on hand to support and cheer the Twins on to another win as they beat the Indians with a final score of 4-1. This raised their record to 58-58 and the Twins are currently in 2nd place in the American League Central Division.

Another win on Saturday was for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF). The NLEOMF partnered with the Twins and hosted their inaugural law enforcement night. Over 300 law enforcement professionals, families and supporters from the Twin Cities and the State of Minnesota came out to support this special event.

The night featured a pre-game ceremony which recognized Sheriff Brad Peterson of the Minnesota Sheriffs Association as the longest serving sheriff in Minnesota, as well as President Hugo McPhee of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association and President Susan Mayerle of the Minnesota Concerns Of Police Survivors Chapter.

Fans were also treated to a special law enforcement public service announcement and tribute video from NBC sportscaster Bob Costas.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul (MN) Airport Police Department Honor Guard presented the colors during the National Anthem.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund would like to thank everyone who attended, with special thanks to Luis Breazeale and the entire Minnesota Twins Group Sales Team, Minnesota Twins Security Department, the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, Minnesota Sheriffs Association, Minnesota Fraternal Order of Police and the Minnesota COPS.

Plans are already underway for another Twins Law Enforcement Night game in 2016. Join us this winter in Minneapolis as we team up with the Minnesota Wild for a night of hockey and law enforcement.

More information on future events can be found at

Thursday, July 30, 2015

FBI National Academy Lays Wreath at Memorial

Dressed in dark green polo shorts and khaki pants, the members of the 261st session of the FBI National Academy gathered at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial on Wednesday, July 29, for their traditional wreathlaying memorial service.

With the presentation of colors by the Ceremonial Honor Guard from the Metro Transit Police Department and the National Anthem performed by Samuel Olson of the Big Lake (MN) Police Department, the FBI’s Benny Lamanna welcomed the group. Lamanna congratulated the participants for their hard work and determination that lead them through their 10-week course at the academy.

Ian Stratford, of the Toronto, Canada, Police Service, reminded the officers of the names on the walls of the Memorial around them. “Heroes,” he called them, adding “law enforcement were the ones who ran in when everyone else was running out.”

After the wreath placement ceremony and roll call of fallen officers, Lamanna asked the group to raise their right hand and rededicate themselves to their profession, to keeping the public safe.

The ceremony ended with Rick Pasciuto, retired from the U.S. Capitol Police, playing Taps and the bagpipes of Rob Deer from the Fairfax County (VA) Sheriff’s Office.