Online Walking Tour
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial is a wonderful place to explore on your own. This self-guided walking tour covers many of the architectural and historical highlights of the Memorial. Supplement these stops with your own highlights, including fallen officers you may have known or heroes from your hometown. Our online fallen officer database includes information about every officer remembered on the Memorial, and you can look up the location of every officer's name at any of the four directories located at the site.
When you arrive at the Memorial, go to one of the directory stands and pick up a brochure and map containing this walking tour. Or plan ahead and download and print a PDF of the walking tour. You can also follow along using our free cell phone audio tour that is available by calling 202-747-3461.
The Walking Tour
Stop 1: Reflecting Pool
Stop 2: September 11, 2001
September 11, 2001, was the deadliest day in law enforcement history. While responding to the terrorist attacks on America, 72 officers were killed. All 72 officers are engraved together on line 23, starting on panel 9-W with Donald McIntyre and ending on panel 22-W with Ronald Bucca. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey lost 37 officers, the most officers of any department in a single year or incident. The New York City Police Department suffered 23 deaths, the second highest fatality figure ever recorded. The New York State Courts Administration, New York State Bureau of Taxation & Finance, U.S. Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Fish & Wildlife also lost officers that day.
Stop 3: Officers Killed by "Billy the Kid"
William H. Bonney, or “Billy the Kid,” built his legend on crime and violence. But many people forget about the six law enforcement officers in New Mexico that Bonney was responsible for murdering from 1878 to 1881. Five of them, James W. Bell, James Carlysle, George Hindman, Robert Olinger and Sheriff William Brady, appear together on panel 13-W. The sixth officer, Robert Beckwith, was not linked to Billy the Kid until after the Memorial was built. His name is located on panel 23-E, line 18.
Stop 4: Protecting the President
On November 1, 1950, Puerto Rican nationals planned to assassinate President Harry Truman at the Blair House, where the President was staying during White House renovations. U.S. Secret Service Officer Leslie W. Coffelt aborted the attempt, and was shot and killed in the process.
Stop 5: First Federal Officer Killed
U.S. Marshal Robert Forsyth, killed on January 11, 1794, was the first known federal law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty. His death occurred in Augusta, GA, when Marshal Forsyth went to serve two brothers, Beverly and William Allen, with court papers in a civil suit. Hiding in a room, Beverly Allen shot a pistol through the door, striking Marshal Forsyth in the head and killing him instantly. Marshal Forsyth is one of the 13 original U.S. Marshals appointed by President George Washington. Now there are close to 1,000 federal officers honored on the Memorial.
Stop 6: Youngest Officer Killed
Jailer Charlie A. Batts was on guard duty at the Bastrop County (TX) Jail when he was struck by lightning. Jailer Batts died on April 22, 1879, and was just 17 years old at the time of his death. The average age of fallen officers on the Memorial is 39.
Stop 7: First Female Officer Killed
Anna Hart of the Hamilton County (OH) Sheriff’s Office, first known female officer killed in the line of duty, was working as a jail matron when she was killed on July 24, 1916. Matron Hart was walking through a section of the county jail when inmate Reuben Ellis, hiding behind a curtain, emerged and struck
Stop 8: First Officer Killed in the Line of Duty
The first known officer killed in the line of duty was Sheriff Cornelius Hogeboom of Hudson, New York. He was shot as he attempted to serve a writ of ejectment on October 22, 1791. Sheriff Hogeboom was attacked and shot by a group of men disguised as American Indians. Ten men were charged with the murder but all were acquitted.
Stop 9: Attica Prison Riot
On September 9, 1971, inmates took over the Attica State Prison in upstate New York. Thirty-nine hostages were taken and after four days of stalled negotiations, Governor Nelson Rockefeller ordered New York State Troopers to move in and quell the riot. In the ensuing battle, 32 inmates and 11 hostages died, including seven correctional officers: John D’Archangelo, Edward T. Cunningham, Richard J. Lewis, William E. Quinn, Carl W. Valone, Ronald Werner and Harrison Whalen. More than 500 correctional officers are honored on the Memorial.
Stop 10: First African-American Officer Killed
On April 10, 1870, Officer William Johnson of the Jacksonville (FL) Sheriff ’s Office, was the first known African-American officer killed in the line of duty. On April 10, 1870, Officer Johnson was responding to a disturbance call when he became involved in a struggle with an extremely intoxicated male. Officer Johnson died two days later as a result of internal injuries and became the first of more than 700 African-American officers to die in the line of duty.
Stop 11: Young Brothers Massacre
On January 2, 1932, six lawmen—Sheriff Marcell Hendrix, Deputy Ollie Crosswhite, Deputy Wiley Mashburn, Chief of Detectives Tony Oliver, Detective Sidney Meadows and Officer Charley Houser—were killed in a shootout in Greene County, MO, as they attempted to apprehend brothers Harry and Jennings Young, wanted for the murder of Marshal Mark Noe. The shootout that resulted became known as the “Young Brothers Massacre” and remains one of the deadliest law enforcement gunfights in U.S. history.
Stop 12: Oldest Officer Killed
Correctional Officer Supra C. Woodroof of the Virginia Department of Corrections was keeping watch on the wall of the Virginia State Penitentiary in Richmond when he stumbled and fell 40 feet to a pile of lumber below. Correctional Officer Woodroof was 85 years old at the time of his death on February 29, 1908, making him the oldest law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty.
Stop 13: J.D. Tippit, Killed by Lee Harvey Oswald
Less than an hour after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963, Dallas Police Officer J. D. Tippit noticed Lee Harvey Oswald walking in a Dallas suburb. When he stopped to question him, Oswald pulled out a revolver and shot Officer Tippit four times. Oswald was arrested a short time later for the murder of Officer Tippit, and upon further investigation, officers uncovered that he was also responsible for assassinating President Kennedy. Officer Tippit’s name appears next to that of a fallen officer named John Kennedy to recall his special place in history.
Stop 14: Central Plaza
The Memorial’s beautiful central plaza features an intricate paving pattern, the American and Memorial flags, and at the very center, a bronze medallion that bears the Memorial name and logo. The Memorial logo, a blue shield with a red rose draped across it, is a symbol of law enforcement and everlasting remembrance of the honor and respect our nation feels toward its law officers—the “thin blue line” of protection.