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 1955, the
idea of a National Organization of Police Officers came about. Today, the tradition that was
first envisioned 89 years ago lives on with more than 2,100 local lodges and more than
310,000 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.
FOP History