The museum's opening comes after two decades of lobbying, planning and fundraising. President Bill Clinton signed legislation approving its creation 18 years ago.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas sheriff who risked death by ramming his truck in the van of a father and son who killed two West Memphis police officers in 2010 is featured in the National Law Enforcement Museum, which opens this weekend in Washington, D.C.
The story of Monroe County Sheriff Michael Neal is exhibited in the new $100 million museum, which will open to the public on Saturday, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.
The museum’s opening comes after two decades of lobbying, planning and fundraising. President Bill Clinton signed legislation approving its creation 18 years ago.
Visitors entering the museum will walk past the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission truck that Neal used to stop Jerry Kane Jr. and his teenage son, Joseph Kane, after the duo fatally shot West Memphis police Sgt. Brandon Paudert and officer Bill Evans. Neal, who was a commission officer at the time, rammed into the Kanes’ van after they opened fire on him and other officers.
“The front end is smashed. The windshield and the hood is full of bullet holes, and you see how close Mike Neal came to death as a result of his heroics that day,” said Craig Floyd, CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
The Kanes were shot to death by officers.
Floyd said the truck is evidence of “law enforcement’s willingness to put themselves at risk for the safety and protection of others.”
The museum also features a digital exhibit that allows visitors to view the names of thousands of public-safety officers who have died in the line of duty.
Neal attended the museum’s grand opening on Thursday. He acknowledged that the display brought back memories of a tragic day, but said he hopes it’ll be useful.
“Maybe something good will come of this sitting in the museum,” he said. “People get to learn the stories and see what really went on and what law enforcement really goes through.”
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com