The newly opened National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington D.C. is packed with exhibits geared to let average citizens have a real feel for what it's like to be behind the badge.
The museum is filled with high-tech, hands-on, interactive displays that let you put yourself in the shoes of officers.
This training simulator lets people see what it's like to encounter situations officers find themselves in every day, to see how quickly things escalate and feel their heart race as they try to make split second decisions to save lives, stop threats, or make arrests.
This visitor faces a man with a gun who's taken store employees hostage. She wants to talk him down and doesn't pull her gun in time, so he kills the hostage and her.
It's a heart-pounding, eye-opening look at the dangers of police work, but in a safe environment.
The museum has a police car for kids to climb into where they can listen to the police radio and turn on the lights. There's also a 911 center where you get to play the role of dispatcher and call taker, trying to get help to people in need, people who can't always express where they are or what the problem is.
The Take the Case section lets showed what it's like to solve cases.
This exhibit lets you play the detective with real cases. You get to pick one and then you get to walk through the evidence.
You can analyze hairs and fibers under microscopes or walk through a virtual autopsy to learn more about stab wounds, bullet holes and strangulation marks or use a special light to identify which items at a crime scene may contain DNA evidence critical to the case.
You can watch real interrogations of suspects and learn the tricks of the trade or test your abilities to witness a crime, then pick out the correct suspect, which is much harder than it looks.
Rebecca Looney, Senior Director Programs & Exhibits, says, "The idea was the anti-cop's reality TV show, right?"
Looney helped choose all these exhibits and says this section lets you watch and fast forward through a full eight-hour shift of officers patrolling the lake, a cop on a city beat, a county deputy taking calls and an OHP trooper patrolling the border, to better understand their days are a mixture of boredom and paperwork, sprinkled with high adrenaline situations.
Said, "Really, there's something for everybody in this museum, and it's a topic many people don't know much about," said Looney.
This exhibit is all about what it's like to do surveillance on a suspect. The idea of all these exhibits is to give people a deeper understanding of what it's really like to do law enforcement work versus what you see on TV.