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 grievances 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.”
The Arapahoe FOP Lodge 31 started on April 30th, 1990 by members of the then Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office Employee Association. Over the years the lodge has grown to over 400+ members making it the second largest in the state behind the Denver Sheriff’s Department FOP Lodge.
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 forward 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 77-89730. ©1997-2003 Fraternal Order of Police, Grand Lodge