This is part of WTOP’s continuing coverage of people making a difference from our community authored by Stephanie Gaines-Bryant. Read more of that coverage.
Just days after President Joe Biden honored 14 people, including law enforcement officers, with Presidential Citizens Medals for keeping the U.S. Capitol safe on Jan. 6, 2021, people are encouraged to voice support for officers on Monday for National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.
Marcia Ferranto, CEO of D.C.-based National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, said that everyone has a chance to show appreciation.
“Find one law enforcement officer and tell them how much they are appreciated, how much we count on them. Thank them for choosing the profession that helps keep our community safe,” she said, adding that you can expect a positive reaction. “They light up when someone stops and says to them, ‘Thank you. We appreciate you. We back you.'”
Ferranto said that National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day is an opportunity to show that appreciation and to visit the organization’s campus. It’s the only campus in the country that recognizes and honors law enforcement, according to Ferranto.
“We exist to honor law enforcement,” she told WTOP.
On one side of E Street, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial honors the fallen with engraved names on three acres of federal park land at Judiciary Square. On the other side is the National Law Enforcement Museum, which tells the story and history of American law enforcement.
According to Ferranto, the criterion to get a name placed on the memorial is stringent. Every one of the 23,229 names currently engraved on the memorial walls was selected based on the judgment of the board of directors, who decide if a nominee died in the line of duty.
“They lost [their lives] protecting us, protecting our community,” Ferranto said.
The National Law Enforcement Museum, one of the newest in D.C., opened in 2018. Ferranto said it offers a very interactive experience, which she described as a “situational simulator.”
Visitors can put on the shoes of law enforcement and understand what they go through, an experience that builds awareness and improves collaboration between communities and officers, according to Ferranto.
“Safe communities equals safe law enforcement, and safe law enforcement equals safe communities,” she said.
For more information on the National Law Enforcement Museum, visit their website.