A Brief History of the Fraternal Order of
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.
changed, thanks to the courage and wisdom of two Pittsburgh patrol officers.
Martin Toole and 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 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."
small beginning the Fraternal Order of Police began growing steadily. In 1917,
the idea of a National Organization of Police Officers came about. Today, the
tradition that was first envisioned over 90 years ago lives on with more than
2,100 local lodges and more than 325,000 members 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.