They are some of society's premier charities in Fort Wayne and across the country; Cops For Kids, Shop with a Cop, Easter Seals, college scholarships, Special Olympics. And one of their biggest supporters..The Fraternal Order of Police.
It is the 100th birthday of Fort Wayne Fraternal Order of Police Lodge Number 14, Indiana's first FOP lodge and the 14th lodge established in the country. The Fraternal Order of Police was founded in Pittsburgh in 1918 as a police union negotiating contracts with employers, representing officers in trouble. Today the FOP Labor Council handles those issues leaving lodges like Fort Wayne's to do public relations and community outreach.
“They remember Ferguson they remember Baltimore they remember Sacramento,” says Fort Wayne Police Captain Mitchel McKinney. “They see these things that are happening.”
Mitchel McKinney is Lodge 14's president. He says the FOP's mission now is more important than ever with social media obsessed with police controversies. He says the FOP sees children as the best hope for cultivating future support for law enforcement.
“We want to make sure that these young kids grow up to be healthy teenagers,” says McKinney, “and these teenagers grow up to be healthy adults. Seeing their interest and seeing them grow seeing them talk to other officers and the way they look at 'em and start to admire 'em....and they're getting to know people for who they are.”
Lodge 14 on Olladale Drive preserves the story of local law enforcement from working with kids to spats with local government., Mayor Ivan Lebamoff was a particular irritant...to local outreach like Honor Flight and all the other good work police do in our community. It's a century of service to be proud of with a second century of giving just beginning.
“We are putting such a face forward with these folks,” says McKinney, “and saying 'Hey, let's get together and talk about issues when they happen and make sure we can take care of them face to face,' so we don't have animosity between law enforcement and our community.”