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
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
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.