It may not have been the largest session of the week, but what this afternoon’s workshop on the National Law Enforcement Museum may have lacked in raw number of attendees, it more than made up for in terms of the quality of attendee interest and discussion. Led by Laurie Baty, the NLEOMF’s Senior Director of Museum Programs, the workshop provided an update on the National Law Enforcement Museum and explored how law local enforcement agencies are an essential ingredient in preserving the history of law enforcement in America.
Ms. Baty explained the history behind the Museum project, emphasizing its connection with the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. She described some of the 7,000 objects in the Museum’s growing collection and, more importantly, brought the objects to life by relating the stories behind many of them. For example, she explained how the artifacts of Macon County, AL, Sheriff Lucius Amerson, who in 1966 became the first black sheriff elected in the South following Reconstruction, will enable the Museum to more fully tell the story of the integration of the law enforcement profession and its role in the Civil Rights era. Sheriff Amersons’ son Anthony had heard about the Museum and wanted to get involved by donating his father’s items to an institution he could trust to maintain and preserve his father incredible collection of badges, weapons, uniform parts, photographs and other historical artifacts.
Much of the workshop involved discussion with the attendees—from Nevada, Massachusetts, California, Illinois, Florida, Kentucky and elsewhere—on what historical objects exist in their agencies and how those items can best be preserved so that the history of local law enforcement in the U.S. can be captured and shared. Several participants described historical items they want to ensure are preserved, either at the National Museum or in their communities.
At the NLEOMF’s exhibit booth, visitor traffic began to subside after a brisk first few days. Still, hundreds of lapel pins, remembrance bracelets, calendars and other information and goodies were given away on Tuesday. By 3:30 pm, as the lights were dimmed at the Convention Center, NLEOMF staff were packing up the exhibit booth and looking forward to next year's IACP Conference in Denver.