The Thin Blue Line

 Posted by at 1:50 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 112011
 

On our first visit to Titusville, three years ago, we heard about the American Police Hall Of Fame & Museum, and added a visit to it to our bucket list. We decided yesterday that it was about time we crossed that one off, because no matter how many neat places we visit, or how many adventures we have, that darned list just keeps getting longer and longer. I know I’m going to live forever, because I still have way too many things to get done yet! 🙂

Located five miles from Interstate 95, the museum honors our nation’s law enforcement officers and the difficult jobs they do to keep us all safe, and to protect and serve.

Police Hall of Fame outside

At the entrance to the museum, a monument honors the canine officers who have been killed in the line of duty, or who have retired after a career in law enforcement.

K9 Memorial

The lobby holds a collection of police cars, from the 1950s to the most modern cruiser.

Police Cars

There were also three police motorcycles on display.

Police Motorcycle

Two of the cars on display are memorials to the officers who drove them, and were killed in the line of duty. One car, which was driven by Fort Worth, Texas police officer Henry Nava, is covered with handwritten messages from the people of Fort Worth and his fellow officers, as a tribute to the veteran officer, who was killed while trying to arrest a suspect on a parole violation in November, 2005.

Fort Worth car 5

Fort Worth car 3

Fort Worth car 7

The Fallen Officers’ Memorial is reminiscent of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., and lists the names of hundreds of police officers who died in the line of duty over the years. And just like they do at the Vietnam Wall, friends and loved ones come here to leave tributes and mementoes at the memorial.

Prison memorial

The museum’s various galleries tell the story of law enforcement throughout history, with displays of police equipment, weapons, investigative tools, and even a full size prison cell.

Prison cell

Before we had jails, those who broke the laws might find themselves locked in wooden stocks in the town square, where the citizens often came by to hurl insults, eggs, and even rocks at the prisoner.

Stocks

This is a metal tramp chair, which was used to house vagrants and minor lawbreakers in the Old West. It didn’t usually take more than a day and night in this uncomfortable contraption to convince a saddle tramp to move on down the trail.

Tramp chair

Of course, some crimes are so horrendous that they merit the maximum punishments. The museum has a noose, gas chamber, and electric chair on display.

Electric chair

But the most gruesome is the guillotine, which was developed during the French Revolution, in 1792. Dr. Joseph Guillotine, who invented it, believed that it was a quick and less painful way to carry out an execution. He should know, since he was executed on his own machine!

Guillotine

One display explains crime scene investigations, something we all are familiar with, thanks to all of the CSI-type shows on television.

Crime scene

There all all kinds of guns on display, from old single action revolvers to modern handguns, shotguns, and even a display of toy guns that look so real that more than one foolish criminal has been shot for pointing them at police officers. When the adrenalin is flowing and things come down to the wire, an officer does not have the time to determine if a gun is real or a harmless toy.

Police handguns

Toy guns

There is also a collection of homemade weapons that have been confiscated from criminals; everything from vicious knives and clubs, to crudely made guns that are just as deadly as any production firearm.

Homemade weapons

Besides the museum and memorial, the complex also includes an indoor shooting range, where visitors can rent all manner of guns and try them out under the tutelage of trained instructors, as well as a small gun shop, with a nice collection of guns and accessories.

Located at 6350 Horizon Drive in Titusville, next to the Astronaut Hall of Fame and close to the entrance to the Kennedy Space Center, the American Police Hall Of Fame & Museum a great stop when visiting Florida’s east coast, and it will help you appreciate the job our police officers, past and present, do to make our communities safer places to live. 

We have other heroes to remember today as well, and Bad Nick had some things to say about that in a new Bad Nick Blog post titled We All Owe A Debt

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Nick Russell

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  3 Responses to “The Thin Blue Line”

  1. An interesting biography of Joseph Ignace Guillotin here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph-Ignace_Guillotin

    He was a medical man of many talents.

  2. Dave and I also toured this two years ago – but specifically because we have police officers in our immediate family. Impressive and informative – I liked the display about Bonnie and Clyde – neat. Thanks for sharing – I believe these people don’t get enough credit for the dangerous job they are in – and ditto for firefighters – of which my brother was one. We salute these unsung heroes!

  3. Interesting link to wikipedia, Susan! 🙂

    I wonder if facing up or down is best if you are unlucky enough to be on the sharp end of the guillotine.

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