The Fraternal Order of Police was founded in 1915 by two Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania patrol officers, Martin Toole and Delbert Nagle. They and 21 other
members of the Pittsburgh Police met on May 14, 1915, establishing the Fraternal Order of Police its first local, Fort Pitt Lodge #1.
The FOP official history states that the founders decided to not use the term "union" because of "the anti-union sentiment of the time," but nevertheless acted
as a union, telling Pittsburgh mayor Joseph G. Armstrong that the FOP would "bring our grievances 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.
In 1918, it was decided that the Order should become a national organization. The Orders constitution stated that "race, Creed or Color shall be no bar". The
constitution also had a no strike pledge, but this has not been enforced since 1967 when FOP police in Youngstown, Ohio refused to work during a salary
dispute. In 1974 and 1975 the FOP stated that it would take no action against members who violated the anti-strike clause until all efforts were exhausted on
the local and state level.
During the 1960s the FOP opposed the creation of police review boards, spearheaded by Robert F. Kennedy, at one point describing them as a "sinister
movement against law enforcement". The FOP also clashed with the ACLU on the issue of police brutality, seeing it as a "liberal attempt to discredit law
enforcement". The Order was "heartened by Richard Nixon's emphasis on law and order", though it remained strictly apolitical.
Emblem and Motto
The Fraternal Order of Police emblem is a five-pointed star. According to the FOP:
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 i nus; 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, Fidus, Libertatum" which translated means "Law is a Safeguard of
When adopted, the motto was believed to be Latin and assumed to mean "Fairness, Justice, Equality" or "Justice, Friendship,
Equality". Actually, the motto is a grammatically impossible and hardly translatable sequence of Latin words; the current
interpretation is the best that could be made of it.
In the center of the star is the coat of arms of the city of Pittsburgh.
Organization and Membership
The FOP constitution and bylaws provide that active membership is open to "any regularly appointed or elected and
full-time employed law enforcement officer of the United States, any state or political subdivision thereof, or any agency
may be eligible for membership" and that "each state and subordinate lodge shall be the judge of its membership."
Local lodges often have provisions for retired law enforcement officers. The subordinate lodges are supported by state
lodges which are subordinate to the Grand Lodge.
Grand Lodge is the national structure of the order.
In 1978, the Order had 138,472 members, 1,250 lodges and 34 state structures.
In the late 1970s, the Order's headquarters were located in Indianapolis, Indiana. The national organization has three
offices: the Labor Services Division in Columbus, Ohio, the Steve Young Law Enforcement Legislative Advocacy Center in
Washington, D.C., and the Grand Lodge "Atnip-Orms Center" National Headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee.
Fraternal Order of Police Auxiliary
The Fraternal Order of Police Auxiliary (FOPA) is the auxiliary organization of FOP for family members of FOP members. It
was formed by a group of wives of Pittsburgh police officers in 1920, and Kathryn M. Milton became its first national
president, in 1941 as the Fraternal Order of Police Ladies Auxiliary. It reports over 2,000 members in 140 Auxiliaries in 25
states. In 1985, non-female members older than 18 were admitted for the first time; in 1987, the current name was
adopted, dropping the term "Ladies."
Fraternal Order of Police Associates
The Fraternal Order of Police Associates (FOPA) is a civilian affiliate organization that is made
up of FOP supporters not eligible for membership. Its members include friends and family of
members, business people, professionals, and other citizens.
Fraternal Order of Police is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization
|Fraternal Order of Police
NYC Correction Lodge 89