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. 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."
From that 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.
In 1915 two Officers from the Pittsburgh Police Department formed the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). Today the FOP is the world's largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers with more than 324,000 members in more than 2,100 lodges nationally. The FOP is the voice of those who dedicate their lives to protecting and serving our communities.
The Grand Lodge (Nashville, Tennessee) is the main governing body for all FOP lodges. Most states have a state FOP lodge and local lodges serve under the state lodges. Through the Grand Lodge the FOP offers many services such as credit cards, insurance, investment brokers and travel services. In addition, the Minnesota FOP has a legal defense plan that covers members for civil, criminal, and administrative actions. The Minnesota FOP publishes a bi-annual magazine and the Grand Lodge publishes quarterly magazines.
In Minnesota the first FOP lodge was chartered in 1991 and the Minnesota State Lodge was founded in 1993, the very night Lodge #3 was formed. Minnesota currently has approximately 2500 members in 25 lodges throughout the state. While the FOP is a national organization each state has autonomy and controls its own activities and finances. The FOP is much like other fraternal groups such as the Masons and the Elks, only that it's exclusively for law enforcement officers. Local lodges meet on a regular basis (usually monthly) and set their own agenda and calendar.
Locally, The Fraternal Order of Police Minnesota Metro Lodge #3 serves law enforcement officers in the immediate Minneapolis area. Metro Lodge #3 operates such as its motto suggests: "Encouraging/promoting participation in charity, fraternal and civic events among the law enforcement community." Metro Lodge #3 also acts as a non profit corporation in Minnesota under MN 317A (corporation #1K-518). Annual dues for Lodge #3 are only $35.00 and all active and retired law enforcement are eligible for membership.