A new nonprofit organization announced this week is seeking to create a museum to honor Wisconsin law enforcement.
The Wisconsin Law Enforcement Museum of Valor was founded after board members of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association voted to establish a separate organization to raise funds for an exhibition space.
“We do appropriately memorialize officers when they die in the line of duty, and I think there is more we can do to commemorate those who return to the line of duty after doing something courageous,” Jim Palmer, WPPA president, said Wednesday.
The museum will be located in Madison — likely near the existing state memorial to fallen officers — and will display stories of law enforcement duty and sacrifice, Palmer said. The content will draw heavily on service awards give by the WPPA to officers, dating back to 1946.
The museum has a projected two-year budget of $800,000 and the goal is for the museum to be open within two years, Palmer said.
University of Wisconsin basketball coach Bo Ryan, who served as a military police officer in the Army, is serving as the museum organization’s honorary chairman.
“I have a genuine respect for Wisconsin’s law enforcement officers, the dangerous service they provide to our communities and the sacrifices they make to keep us safe,” Ryan said in a news release.
The Museum of Valor is governed by a board of trustees, composed of law enforcement officers from across the state. The board also plans to sponsor a scholarship program for college students pursuing a career in law enforcement.
Plans for the museum call for a modest theater, squad car simulator, police motorcycle, an interactive bomb robot, historical artifacts and a gift shop.
“It will always be a living and breathing display,” Palmer said.