Fraternal Order of Police establishes lodge

Officers sworn in during ceremony
Oct. 15, 2013 @ 09:44 AM

Law enforcement officers in Davidson County now have their own Fraternal Order of Police.

Davidson County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 97 became a reality on Oct. 3 at Thomasville Funeral Home following a swearing-in ceremony by the state's executive board. More than two dozen law enforcement officers who serve in Davidson County now are a part of the nonunion organization that has lodges across the country.

"It's all about police officers helping police officers," said James Shores, a master police officer with Thomasville Police Department who was sworn in as the Lodge president. "It's a wonderful group of people."

Members of the Lodge also include officers with the Davidson County Sheriff's Office, Lexington Police Department, Denton Police Department, the State Highway Patrol, the State Bureau of Investigation and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. At least 10 members were required to form a new charter. Shores said the FOP state executive board, as part of its effort to have at least one lodge in each of North Carolina's 100 counties, asked him at a national conference to create one in Davidson County. 

"I got with some officers who already are FOP members and talked to them," Shores said. "They all agreed that it would be a good idea. We started recruiting for our charter and put it together."

Following the Oct. 3 ceremony, Lodge 97 currently has 27 members. Davidson and Randolph County for the past 10 years have fallen under Guilford County Lodge 79. FOPs provide legal protection to officers involved in critical incidents like shootings. Members also organize community events as a way to give back.

On Dec. 14, Lodge 97 will participate in the FOP Cops & Kids program. Members will take selected children to Kmart in Thomasville for some early Christmas shopping. More than 20 children participated last year. Shores said the local chapter will continue to work with Guilford County Lodge 79 when it comes to fundraising until it gets on its feet, but plans are to be self-sufficient in 2014.

"We spent more than $5,000 on the kids last year," said Shores. "We will be raising our own money next year."

Officers interested in becoming a member must fill out an application, which is then submitted to the executive board. Members pay a due of $125 and are part of the lodge as long as they conduct themselves in a professional manner.

Joining Shores on the executive board are Vice President Tony Staley, a retired High Point police officer, Treasurer and Secretary Mark Barnes, a DCSO detective and Sergeant at Arms Nathaniel Riggs, also a DCSO detective.

Lodge 97 meets on the first Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. at Thomasville Funeral Home.

The Fraternal Order of Police is the largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers in the world, consisting of more than 325,000 members in more than 2,100 lodges, according to the organization's website. 

For more information visit ncfop97.org or fop.net. 

Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or duke@tvilletimes.com.