Have you ever wondered why back on May 15, 1915 that the founders of the Fraternal Order of Police (F.O.P.) decided to incorporate the word "Fraternal" to describe this newly founded
I have often pondered this in the multiple training classes and quarterly meetings I had the privilege to attend; and as of late, I have heard this being
thrown around in discussions. Does the modern-day F.O.P. actually exercise "Fraternalism" as part of its core values? Do we, the members of the Lodge, actually know what it means to be Fraternal? Let
us dig a little deeper into this and first define what it is to be Fraternal.
After spending some time Googling the term, I found what I believe to be a great example of what "Fraternal" means to me as it is applied to the Lodge;
stating "The character of being fraternal; specifically, the cultivation and safeguarding of that fraternity, or brotherhood of an entire people". It is here that I see the people of a fellowship are
charged with the growing and safety of its culture, to include the fiber of its morals and core values. This further expands on those characteristics we look for in our membership; such as honor,
integrity, honesty and humility just to name just a few. For those still currently on the job, as well as those lucky enough to have retired from it, we know these characteristics come with high
expectations, as well as steep prices to pay when such confidence is lost.
As I'm still on the job, and that I have the esteem privilege to work with "Millennials" who are now occupying the role of the common street cop, I can testify that Fraternalism still exists;
but not in the traditional sense. As the "traditional" LEO enjoyed traveling to Lodge and socializing with those that are like-minded, todays LEO's do so in other ways such as social media and
blogging sites. The new-age cop still shares the same sense of tradition and pride for our beloved profession; it's just looked upon in a different sense.
It's with this thought that I say we, as a Lodge, need to adjust how we are recruiting and educating our members. It's also with this idea that maybe
because you are a member and you are not available to attend Lodge meetings regularly that you can still be active in the progression of the Order. What I have come to the conclusion of is the
progress and success of our local Lodge (as well as the State and National) comes down to acceptance of "Change". Believe me, I know it is probably the most HATED word in a Cop's vocabulary.....but
it is inevitable! However, it can also be prosperous.
So, is "Fraternalism" still alive in the Lodges and in Law Enforcement today? YES, I believe so!
However, how we decide to maximize that fraternalism of the "New Age" cop has yet to be determined. Therefore, with that said, I encourage EVERY MEMBER to
reach out to our younger generation and encourage them to join our Lodge. Share with them the benefits and privileges of what being a member is and how being a part of such an organization can
benefit them, both professionally and personally. And, that no matter what happens, the F.O.P. will always "have your 6"!
M. Braswell, Deputy Sheriff PCSO
State Trustee for Lodge #46