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, PA 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.
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.
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.”
The centerpiece of the star consists of the seal of the City of Pittsburgh, PA, home of the first Lodge of the Order. At the top of the seal is Fort Pitt, for which the first Lodge was named after and continues to operate today. 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.
History of FOP® New Jersey Lodge No. 46
Fraternal Order of Police®, New Jersey Lodge No. 46 was originally chartered as Pennsylvania Central (Penn Central) Lodge No. 46, and consisting primarily of members from the Penn Central Railway Police. When the Consolidated Rail Corporation (ConRail) was formed in 1976, Penn Central Lodge No. 46 absorbed members from the Lehigh Valley, Erie Lackawanna, and Central RR of NJ police departments and was re-named Conrail Lodge No. 46.
At this time, Lodge No. 46 was also authorized to accept members from other law enforcement agencies in northern New Jersey which did not have a local lodge of the FOP® formed. As the membership of the Lodge became increasingly diversified, a request was made and granted in 1980 to change the name of the lodge to its’ current name, New Jersey Lodge No. 46. The Lodge was officially incorporated as Fraternal Order of Police®, New Jersey Lodge No. 46, Inc. in 1990.
Today, New Jersey Lodge No. 46 continues to serve law enforcement in the northern New Jersey area, encompassing over 300 members from two dozen local, county, state, interstate, and federal law enforcements agencies in the northern New Jersey area. New Jersey Lodge No. 46 has served as an effective expansion tool for the organization by being the parent lodge to six (6) local lodges in New Jersey which were formed from members who had initially joined this lodge.