It’s one of the first things we hear as a group of students makes its way down the stairs to the admissions desk: “Is that a helicopter?!” Yup. “Is it real?” Sure is. The story of how Eagle One came to rest here, hanging above the exhibit space in the National Law Enforcement Museum, is a good one to tell.
“I [patroller’s name], do swear, that I will as searcher for guns, swords, and other weapons among the slaves in my district, faithfully, and as privately as I can, discharge the trust reposed in me as the law directs, to the best of my power. So help me, God.” -Slave Patroller’s Oath, North Carolina, 1828.[i]
Most Americans are familiar with organized crime boss Al Capone. They may not be as familiar with Eliot Ness, the federal agent who played a crucial role in bringing Capone to justice. In a new advertising campaign, the National Law Enforcement Museum at the Motorola Solutions Foundation Building highlights Ness and other lesser-known law enforcement heroes featured in their exhibits.
Tantalizing! Sensational! Lurid! True Crime always seems to come with an implicit exclamation point. It is a genre that documents the not normal and emphasizes the extreme. Are people drawn to the dark details of the depraved? Or to the otherness of those who dwell in this mostly hidden underworld? Or are people just relieved that they themselves have avoided these nefarious situations?