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
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 1955, the idea of a National Organization of Police Officers came about. Today, the tradition that was
first envisioned over 85 years ago lives on with more than 2,100 local lodges and nearly 300,000 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.
A book entitled "The Fraternal Order of Police, 1915-1976: A History" by Justin E. Walsh, Ph.D., was first published
in 1977. The book was reprinted in 2001 with a new foreward by Past National President Gilbert Gallegos. The reprinted book
is available to FOP members by calling the Grand Lodge at 615.399.0900. The Library of Congress Catalog Card Number is
©1997-2002 Fraternal Order of Police, Grand Lodge
ABOUT THE FOP STAR
The emblem adopted by the national Fraternal Order of Police is designed to remind the membership of the
duties that are expected of them as a citizen, a police officer and a member of the lodge. 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.
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.
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, Fides, Libertatum" which translated means, "Law is a Safeguard
©1997-2002 Fraternal Order of Police, Grand Lodge
History of the Rock River Lodge
The Rock River Lodge was established in May, 2002 following intense reaserch
of police unions, organizations and clubs in the area of Rock County, Wisconsin. Lodge President Jon Ammeson and Vice-President
Daniel Molland noted that although there was a high percentage of surrounding states which had local lodges, Wisconsin had
Historically, Wisconsin police officers had not experienced the bitter working conditions of officers in the eastern
part of the country, and were content utilizing other unions. A state lodge was established in the 1930's, but as the president
noted at the time, recruitment of members was virtually impossible. The lodge dissolved sortly thereafter, and Wisconsin had
no FOP affiliates until approx. 1997.
There has been a recent surge of interest in the FOP and membership in our lodge is steadily increasing. Some of the
causes may be attributed to the influx of younger officers in the workforce, and the tragic events of Sept. 11th, 2001 in
New York City. Whatever the cause, officers voice a need for the strengthening of brother/sisterhood.
The Rock River Lodge is dedicated to just that.
Jon Ammeson, Founding-President
Rock River Lodge