Museum effort nears target

Mark R. Madler

Area businesses are approaching a goal of $100,000 to help fund a

proposed law enforcement museum in the nation's capital.

As of Tuesday, nearly $90,000 had been collected by the city's

business community to be given to the Burbank Police Officers Assn.

for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Museum in

Washington, D.C.

The recognition for police officers who keep streets safe across

the country is long overdue, said Vic Georgino, a fundraising

committee member and former Burbank Police reserve officer.

When he looks back now to when he was a reserve officer in the

early- to mid-1970s, he realizes he could have been hurt at any time,

Georgino said.

"It's a serious job," Georgino said of police work. "Especially

today, when things seem to be more dangerous than they were 30 years

ago."

Among the donors are Crown Realty & Development, owner of the

Burbank Town Center Mall; Cusumano Real Estate Group; and NBC

Studios.

The fundraising drive will culminate July 9 with a black-tie event

called "An Evening of Respect" at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center.

Burbank's effort will become the model used nationwide for

fundraising for the museum, said Bruce Mendelsohn, spokesman for the

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, the nonprofit

organization that already maintains a memorial and will build the

museum.

"Civic and law enforcement partnerships are the way to go,"

Mendelsohn said. "We hope these partnerships go a long way to

promoting the museum."

Fund Chairman Craig W. Floyd and other staff members are scheduled

to attend the July 9 event, Mendelsohn said.

The Burbank Police Department was among the first in the nation to

contribute to the memorial, which was dedicated in 1991.

The memorial is inscribed with about 15,000 names of officers

killed in the line of duty. The Burbank department has five officers

listed, including officer Matthew Pavelka, who was killed in the line

of duty in November 2003.

The proposed museum will house photos, plaques and other objects

left by visitors to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial on

Judiciary Square in Washington.

The museum will also include interactive displays on police work,

a movie theater, and displays on the evolution of police equipment

and vehicles. As part of an $80-million campaign, departments all

over the country are raising money for the museum.

The Burbank campaign also included an essay contest for elementary

and middle school students in Burbank schools. The winners of the

contest are expected to be announced within two weeks.

The essays and how they portray police officers are just as

important to the campaign as the "Evening of Respect" event, said

Michael Hastings, a member of the fundraising committee.

To make a contribution, send a check payable to BPOA/National

Memorial Fund to 842 Grinnell Drive, Burbank, CA 91501.

More information on the memorial and proposed museum can be found

at http:/www.1nleomf.com.

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