FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE (FOP)

The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) is the world's largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers, with more than 308,000 members in more than 2,100 lodges. We are the voice of those who dedicate their lives to protecting and serving our communities. We are committed to improving the working conditions of law enforcement officers and the safety of those we serve through education, legislation, information, community involvement, and employee representation. No one knows the dangers and the difficulties faced by today's police officers better than another officer, and no one knows police officers better than the FOP.

Founded in 1915, we are still "Building on a Proud Tradition."

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE

FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE

In 1915, the life of a policeman was bleak. In many communities they were forced to work 12 hour days, 365 days a year. Police officers didn't like it, but there was little they could do to change their working conditions. There were no organizations to make their voices heard; no other means to make their grievances known.

This soon changed, thanks to the courage and wisdom of two Pittsburgh patrol officers. Brother Martin Toole and Brother Delbert Nagle knew they must first organize police officers, like other labor interests, if they were to be successful in making life better for themselves and their fellow police officers.

They and 21 others "who were willing to take a chance" met on May 14, 1915, and held the first meeting of the Fraternal Order of Police. They formed Fort Pitt Lodge #1. They drafted a ritual of initiation, a constitution and bylaws, and an emblem, and first decided to conduct their meetings confidentially to avoid retribution from the department's chief, who upon learning about the formation of the Lodge, told the FOP "Boys, you'd better disband."

They decided on this name due to the anti-union sentiment of the time. However, there was no mistaking their intentions. As they told their city mayor, Joe Armstrong, the FOP would be the means "to bring our aggrievances before the Mayor or Council and have many things adjusted that we are unable to present in any other way...we could get many things through our legislature that our Council will not, or cannot give us."

And so it began, a tradition of police officers representing police officers. The Fraternal Order of Police was given life by two dedicated police officers determined to better their profession and those who choose to protect and serve our communities, our states, and our country.  It was not long afterward that Mayor Armstrong was congratulating the Fraternal Order of Police for their "strong influence in the legislatures in various states,...their considerate and charitable efforts" on behalf of the officers in need and for the FOP's "efforts at increasing the public confidence toward the police to the benefit of the peace, as well as the public."

From that small beginning the Fraternal Order of Police began growing steadily.  In 1955, the idea of a National Organization of Police Officers came about.  Today, the tradition that was first envisioned over 85 years ago lives on with more than 2,100 local lodges throughout 43 of the United States of America, and nearly 308,000 Brothers and Sisters in the United States.  The Fraternal Order of Police has become the largest professional police organization in the country.  The FOP continues to grow because we have been true to the tradition and continued to build on it.  The Fraternal Order of Police are proud professionals working on behalf of law enforcement officers from all ranks and levels of government.

ABOUT THE FOP STAR

The emblem adopted by the national Fraternal Order of Police is designed to remind the membership of the duties that are expected of them as a citizen, a police officer and a member of the lodge.  The five-cornered star tends to remind us of the allegiance we owe to our Flag and is a symbol of the authority with which we are entrusted.  It is an honor the people we serve bestow upon us.  They place their confidence and trust in us; serve them proudly.

 

Midway between the points and center of the star is a blue field representative of the thin blue line protecting those we serve.  The points are of gold, which indicates the position under which we are now serving.  The background is white, the unstained color representing the purity with which we should serve.  We shall not let anything corrupt be injected into our order.  Therefore, our colors are blue, gold and white.

The open eye is the eye of vigilance ever looking for danger and protecting all those under its care while they sleep or while awake.  The clasped hands denote friendship. The hand of friendship is always extended to those in need of our comfort.

The circle surrounding the star midway indicates our never ending efforts to promote the welfare and advancement of this order.  Within the half circle over the centerpiece is our motto, "Jus, Fides, Libertatum" which translated means, "Law is a Safeguard of Freedom."

Submitted by Brother Denis McGowan of Kings County, New York Law Enforcement Lodge No. 38, Fraternal Order of Police.

 

         

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