National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum Launches Public Programs Forum

(WASHINGTON) – The National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum is dedicated to telling the story of American law enforcement, educating the public about law enforcement and providing a platform for dialogue to strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

Led by the Museum’s Executive Director of Programs and Exhibits, National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund Board Member Captain Sonia Pruitt and key Museum staff, including the newly appointed Chief Curator Scott Habes, the Museum’s newly formed Programs Committee will engage members of the public to help provide a rich array of programs and visitor experiences relevant to the interests and diversity of its visitors. Anyone with an interest in law enforcement, its relationship to community, or in museums is welcome to attend these public sessions and provide input into the future program decisions. The 2020 Programs Committee members represent a wide range of viewpoints from the Museum, law enforcement, the education profession, and the community:

  • Captain Sonia Pruitt Programs Committee Co-chair, National Law Enforcement Officers Board of Directors, Chairperson – National Black Police Association, Montgomery County (MD) Police Department Director of Community Engagement Division
  • Sgt. Dan Helton Montgomery County (MD) Police Department Community Engagement Division
  • Harry Phillips Executive Director, Police Unity Tour
  • Tim Quinn CFO, Police Unity Tour
  • Gary LaFree Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of MD, College Park
  • John Firman Criminology, American University
  • Tiffany Loftin NAACP Director of Youth and College Division
  • Thomasin Frankin DC Public Schools Manager of Partner Engagement 
  • Alan Davis Museum Public Program Manager 
  • Paul Larson Museum Senior Director of Operations and Security
  • Lauren Sydney Museum Director of Collections 
  • Yanitza Tavarez Museum Education Manager 

 “We believe this is an excellent way to engage the community on the topics that matter to them,” says National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund CEO Marcia Ferranto. “By including a wide range of stakeholders in the decision-making process, we’ll be able to provide thought-provoking programs that really make a difference. I hope the public is as excited as I am about the launch of these new public program sessions.”

The Museum’s internal Programs Committee will convene to discuss key topic areas that have been established as a result of six public forums. At the conclusion of the 2020 sesssion, the committee will deliver a public presentation on outcomes and opportunities relevant to past and future programs. A dedicated web page is also provided for participants who are unable to attend the public meetings but wish to contribute ideas. 

All committee meetings take place on Tuesdays from 2 pm to 4 pm at the Museum. Key dates for the 2020 sessions and their topics are as follows: 

  • February 11 Panel Events
  • March 31 Museum Workshops
  • April 28 Collections
  • June 30 Exhibitions (Permanent)
  • July 28 Exhibitions (Temporary)
  • September 29 Museum Events
  • November 17 Final 2020 Session Presentation

Thomas Canavan is Executive Director of Exhibits and Programs at the National Law Enforcement Museum. Thomas is an accomplished art professional with leadership expertise in developing art as well as educational and outreach programs that focus on building thriving creative communities.  His vast experience includes creating collaborative program environments that foster creativity while generating revenue, development, and oversight of a robust, year-round, innovative educational program for more than 1.3 million annual art center visitors, established and fostered strategic partnerships and alliances with local government, private and nonprofit organizations to introduce new audiences to the arts. Active in multiple community service programs, Thomas served as a regional mentor for the Getty Multicultural Undergraduate Internship program, grant panelist for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and annual conference planning coordinator for the TransCultural Exchange in Boston. He holds a Master of Science Arts Administration from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts, Studio Art from the University of Maryland.  

Scott Habes is Chief Curator of the National Law Enforcement Museum. Scott has more than 20 years of experience in museum administration. He has organized scores of exhibitions and catalogs focusing on cutting-edge contemporary art and visual culture. He previously held curatorial positions at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the University of Maryland, College Park, and the Cornell Fine Arts Museum in Winter Park, Fl. Scott has taught classes in museum studies and contemporary history; attended a Scholars Program at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, CA. He holds undergraduate degrees from the State University of New York at Oswego and an MBA in Arts Administration from Binghamton University, where his research dealt with museum outreach and collections management.

Sonia Y.W. Pruitt is a Captain with the Montgomery County (MD) Police Department, where she has served for 27 years. She currently works as the Director of the Community Engagement Division, leading her team in a focus on building legitimate and trusting relationships with the community and managing the School Resource Officer program for the department. Sonia sits on the Board of Directors of the National Law Enforcement Museum. She is also chairperson of the National Black Police Association, a member of the 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center, which advocates for criminal justice reform, and is a speaker with Law Enforcement Action Partnership, which also advocates for criminal justice and drug policy reform. Sonia holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s degree in Forensic Psychology. She is also an adjunct professor at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland, facilitating education about varied aspects of the criminal justice system.