Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Department of Justice establishes new VALOR Initiative

At the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Annual Conference earlier this morning, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the Department of Justice's new Preventing Violence Against Law Enforcement and Ensuring Officer Resilience and Survivability (VALOR) initiative and the allocation of $800,000 to development a nationwide training and technical assistance program.

According to the Justice Department, "Every line of duty death is tragic. Not only is there a loss of a hero, there are long-lasting ramifications for families, agencies, and the erosion of public confidence in the safety of their communities."

The VALOR Initiative will train officers how to deal with the "deadly mix" situation of the officer, offender, and the circumstances that brought them together, along with training on identifying concealed weapons, hostage situations, dealing with domestic and international terrorists, and other violent scenarios.

"I applaud the Justice Department for their commitment to officer safety. This news comes on a day when law enforcement fatalities are up 42% from the previous year. We owe it to our law enforcement officers to ensure they are equipped with the best training and assistance," said Memorial Fund Chairman & CEO, Craig W. Floyd.

To learn more about the VALOR Initiative visit:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Race to Remember 2010

On a beautiful Sunday morning, nearly 700 runners gathered at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC for the 3rd Annual, "Race to Remember," organized by the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, DC and benefiting the Memorial Fund.

Cheered on by family and friends (and bagpipers), runners started and ended the 5k race at the Memorial, passing through the heart of our nation's capital and other historic landmarks, including the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court, and National Mall.

After a mere 16:16 minutes, runner Birhanu Zejeke, age 27, crossed the finish line and won the race with a pace of a 5:14 mile. He was followed closely by Karsten Brown (16:58 minutes), and Antonio Epplito (17:11 minutes). For the women, Katie Schetting, also age 27, finished at 19:07 minutes, with Monica Soto (21:03 minutes), and Cori Sue Morris (21:13 minutes) close behind. (Complete race results are available online.)

Race to Remember was established by the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, DC to honor the sacrifice of all law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line for our safety and protection by helping to build the National Law Enforcement Museum. The race was a fitting conclusion to the numerous events during the week celebrating the groundbreaking on the National Law Enforcement Museum.

Special thanks to our generous race sponsors - Grand Central Restaurant, Police Federal Credit Union, Rhino Pump House, Leaky Faucet, Town Tavern, DC C.O.P.S. Classic Golf, Safeway, UPS, and Town Danceboutique. The race would not have been possible without the efforts of the Fraternal Order of Police DC Lodge #1, Lodge and MPD Assistant Chief Patrick Burke (whose daughter, Bridie Burke came in second in her age division). Also, thanks to the FBI National Academy, who had an awesome showing of over 90 runners. And, of course, all of the volunteers and runners who came out early on a Sunday morning.

Friday, October 15, 2010

National Law Enforcement Museum Groundbreaking Gala

Last night, after formally breaking ground on the National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington, DC, distinguished guests from the government, corporate, and private sectors, along with law enforcement officers and supporters gathered at the National Building Museum for the Groundbreaking Gala.

Inside the black-tie event, celebrities including Bill Kurtis, Linda Carter, and Vincent D'Onofrio shared their support for the law enforcement community.

Don’t get me wrong. I love portraying a cop on TV. And, I’d like to think I’ve helped our viewers gain an appreciation for the difficulties of the job, and the special talents and qualities it takes to be a law enforcement professional. I know I have tremendous respect for the men and women in policing, but it’s because I’ve experienced it having met many real-life cops. I want others to have that opportunity. That’s why this Museum is so important—it will change the way people think about the men and women who protect us”, said D'Onofrio.

The program also included videos from Target's Chairman, President, and CEO, Gregg Steinhafel and Law & Order: SVU's Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay, along with musical tributes by bagpipers Chris Jackson (Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, DC) and Steve Butterbrodt (Port Authority of NY/NJ Police Department) and Sergeant Michael Devine, and the keynote address by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.

"Homeland security begins with hometown security, and law enforcement play a critical role in keeping communities across our nation safe," said Secretary Napolitano. "The National Law Enforcement Museum will pay tribute to the selfless commitment of the men and women in uniform who serve and protect our homeland."

Boston Police Officer Thomas Griffiths, who was scheduled to speaking at the Groundbreaking Ceremony, shared his family’s story of law enforcement service and honor. On February 2, 1988, Tommy Griffiths' older brother, Detective Sherman C. Griffiths (Boston Police Department), was killed in the line-of-duty while executing a no-knock search warrant. His brother Billy, who had joined the Boston Police Department in 1986, was on duty the night Sherman was killed. Several other Griffiths’ brothers have served or currently serve as law enforcement officers.

"Today we are here to begin another journey, to build a Museum that will not only honor officers killed in the line of duty but it will honor all law enforcement officers and recognize the work that we do. This will be a piece of history that future generations will be able to share and enjoy," said Griffiths

The Griffiths' family story is part of the proud history of American law enforcement and just one of the many stories of our law enforcement heroes that will be told through the Museum. The event culminated an amazing and history day, moving us one step closer to opening the National Law Enforcement Museum in late 2013.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

National Law Enforcement Museum Breaks Ground

Inclement weather did not deter the National Law Enforcement Museum Groundbreaking Ceremony – a much anticipated and rousing occasion – from taking place this morning at 11 a.m., right on schedule despite the obstacles presented by mother nature.

Under rainy skies with umbrellas in hand, members of the U.S. Congress, major corporations, law enforcement officers, supporters and survivors gathered at the future site of the Museum, located across the street from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC. Loyal citizens traveled far and wide to celebrate building commencement of the Museum that will tell the story of American law enforcement through exhibits, collections, research and education.

Ten years ago, Congress authorized legislation to begin planning for the first-ever Museum dedicated to the law enforcement profession. For all involved in the project, the journey has been long and often tiresome. But today, all those efforts have been rewarded, and the once far-reaching dream to honor the men and women of law enforcement has finally been realized, with the goal of opening the Museum in late 2013.

“Almost ten years after Congress authorized this project, and following a lot of hard work, planning and generosity from the law enforcement community, corporate America and caring citizens, we are very excited and eager to get shovels in the ground later this year,” said Craig W. Floyd, Chairman & CEO of the Memorial Fund.

Shortly after shovels formally hit the ground this morning, the crowd processed in a mass of umbrellas across E Street to the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces for an abbreviated ceremony indoors.

United States Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr. gave the ceremony’s keynote address, expressing enthusiasm about the Museum and its goal to help the American people understand the value of law enforcement by highlighting our officers’ service to the community.

When the National Law Enforcement Museum opens in 2013, it will tell a story that no other museum does – of more than three centuries of law enforcement officers protecting their fellow citizens, advancing the cause of justice, and establishing a tradition of service that continues to keep us safe,” said Attorney General Holder.

In his closing remarks, the Attorney General captured the essence of the future National Law Enforcement Museum, as a landmark dedicated to honoring law enforcement officers for their service and endless commitment to protect Americans.

As our nation’s Attorney General, as the brother of a retired Port Authority officer, as a lifelong admirer of law enforcement, and, simply, as an appreciative American citizen – I look forward to the opening of what will be one of our nation’s greatest tributes to one of its greatest treasures: the devoted men and women in uniform who keep this nation safe and who make us all so proud,” he said.

Also speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony were Linda Moon Gregory, National President of the Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS); and retired Det. /Sgt. from the West Orange (NJ) Police Department, Harry Phillips, the Executive Director of the Police Unity Tour, which has raised $5 million for the Museum.

Due to the rainy conditions and a curtailed ceremony, Boston Police Officer Thomas Griffiths, who joined the ranks of law enforcement after his brother, Sherman, was killed in the line of duty, was unable to share his stunning story. He will speak tonight instead, at the Groundbreaking Gala, reception beginning at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m.

More information about the Groundbreaking Ceremony and Gala, to be held tonight at the National Building Museum is available at www.LawEnforcementMuseum.org/Groundbreaking.

Learn more about the National Law Enforcement Museum at www.LawEnforcementMuseum.org.