About Us

Who we are and our history.

What Is the Fraternal Order of Police Associates (FOPA)?

The FOPA is a civilian affiliate of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). Our members are friends and families of law enforcement Officers, responsible and respected business persons, professional men and women, and citizens from all walks of life—people willing to devote a portion of their time and efforts toward assisting the various law enforcement agencies of our communities, states and nation.

The FOPA is part of a national organization known as the Grand Lodge Fraternal Order of Police Associates with local Lodges throughout the nation. The GLFOPA is a non-stock charitable corporation as defined by Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Lodges that are members of the GLFOPA are entitled to share the tax exempt status. Any contributions made to those Lodges are tax exempt. The corporation is a non-partisan organization without regard to race, creed, color or religious belief.

The FOPA’s interests revolve around law enforcement and the men and women that have dedicated their lives to the protection of ours.

The FOPA actively supports legislation, charitable causes, and all law enforcement efforts on a local, state and national level.

Goals of the FOPA

The FOPA is an organization formed for the purpose of increasing our understanding of the rights, duties and problems of law enforcement officers; of fostering respect for them; and of bettering conditions under which they serve society. We accomplish this through public relations, as well as legislative and educational efforts. It is our aim and objective to support law enforcement throughout our country in every way possible. We believe that Law is the safeguard to freedom, and it is our duty to defend it.

National History of the FOPA

The Grand Lodge Fraternal Order of Police Associates was formed on August 27, 1967; organized on August 10, 1973; incorporated on March 21, 2005; and received its tax exempt ruling on April 13, 2006.

Nationally, we are a proud corporate sponsor of Easter Seals, actively involved in legislation, and supportive of all Law Enforcement programs.

Functions and Activities of the Associate Lodges of the FOPA

Associate Lodges work to assist their parent Lodge. They provide law enforcement agencies with dedicated public support.

Many Associate Lodges present scholarships to dependents of law enforcement officers and Associate members.

Associate Lodges donate funds to officers in need or distress, provide funds for various law enforcement needs and youth programs, and present awards to recognize outstanding and dedicated law enforcement officers and Associate members.

Associate Lodges hold joint social functions enjoyed by members, family, and friends.

Benefits of the FOPA

Membership in the Grand Lodge FOPA entitles you to the following benefits:

  • National fraternalism with our law enforcement family.
  • Professional membership cards, decals, and emblems which are recognized nationally.
  • Recognition of outstanding achievements through various awards programs.
  • The opportunity to attend and vote at State and National FOPA Conferences.
Do You Believe…
  • In a better State, Community, and Country?
  • In professional Law Enforcement?
  • In protection of your family, home and business?
  • In a united effort to safeguard freedom? If you answered YES, you are a candidate for membership in the FOPA!

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. 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.

 

Emblem and Motto

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 in us; 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 Freedom.”

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

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.[7] The subordinate lodges are supported by state lodges which are subordinate to the Grand Lodge. The 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, businesspeople, professionals, and other citizens. It is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.