The Witness series brings together the men and women of  Law Enforcement who were instrumental in landmark events in American history. For information about upcoming programs please visit the Museums Events pages.



On the afternoon on January 13, 1982, the roads within and surrounding the District were crowded with commuters heading home after the government closed early after a major snow storm hit the area. One of those commuters was William McManus, then Sergeant with the Metropolitan (DC) Police Department. About a mile after crossing the 14th Street Bridge, a major connector between DC and Virginia, he heard news that a plane had crashed in the Potomac River near the Bridge. McManus recalled, “I don’t recall hearing the impact, but [I] heard on my radio that a plane went down in the river, and I turned my car around.” McManus, now Chief of the San Antonia Police Department, recounted his participation in the rescue operations led by U.S. Park Police of the survivors from Florida Flight 90 on February 2, 2012, at the Major City Chiefs Conference. McManus described the crash as “the most horrific event” in course of his career until seeing the attack on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.


This program was generously sponsored by Target