The Fraternal Order of Police is a fraternal
organization for sworn police officers. It is the
largest professional law enforcement association in
the United States, with some 2100 local chapters,
or lodges, and an estimated 321,000 members.

Martin Toole and Delbert Nagle, two Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania patrol officers, founded the first lodge
on May 14, 1915 to improve life and working
conditions for police. In the beginning the
organization was promoted for its social benefits,
but in many areas it also represents police as a
collective bargaining agent, in effect making it a
labor union.

FOP as a collective bargaining agent

The formation of the first FOP lodges allowed
officers to socialize with their fellows outside of their
stressful work environment. In many areas the
lodge building served as a private club little different
from such organizations as the Freemasons.

As more jurisdictions began to allow their police
officers collective bargaining rights, the social
orientation of the FOP shifted. In some jurisdictions,
officers voted for the FOP to be recognized as their
collective bargaining agent, making the lodge in
effect the local of a union within that jurisdiction.
This caused a change of priorities from largely social
and fraternal concerns to issues of benefits, pay,
and grievance representation.

Critics have argued the FOP is ill-suited to serve in
such a capacity. For one thing, it has traditionally
been open to all ranks of sworn police officers, while
labor unions by their nature are not open to
members of management. For another, it is argued
that collective bargaining is too far removed from
the original purpose of the organization. For these
reasons, in some jurisdictions the FOP has been
decertified as a collective bargaining agent, although
it may continue to exist in its original social and
fraternal functions. In others, it has been retained
as the collective bargaining agent despite efforts to
have it removed. The group traditionally fights
vigorously any effort to remove it as a collective
agent in jurisdictions in which it has been certified
as such.

The motto of the FOP is "Jus Fidus Libertatum" (Law
is the safeguard of freedom)source:
FOP Grand Lodge - The Grand Lodge, the national
organization, is based in Nashville, Tennessee. It
publicizes the activities and issues of the local
lodges, lobbies Congress and regulatory bodies on
behalf of police interests, and offers resources such
as legal briefs and bargaining tips. It also sponsors
various charities, memorials for fallen officers, and
support programs for spouses and family members
of police officers.
Fraternal Order
of Police
The Fraternal Order of Police, or FOP, represents a
lot of police officers across the nation.  As you
narrow down the number of police departments
you're considering for a police career, go to the FOP
Lodge websites for those police departments.  The
quality of a Lodge website can give you a pretty
good idea of its effectiveness, and a well updated
site will give you good insight into the working
environment of the police officers it represents.

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