In 2007 members of four Somerset County law enforcement agencies started the county's first Fraternal Order of Police lodge, Lodge 135, which they hoped would lead to better salaries and retirement benefits in the county.
FOP Lodge 135—which includes members of the Princess Anne, Crisfield and University of Maryland Eastern Shore police departments and the Somerset County Sheriff's Office—is part of the world's largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers.
Members from Lodge 135 previously belonged to a lodge in Worcester County, Lodge 50. Knowing that Somerset County officers needed their own recognition and wanting to fight their own battles for better benefits within the county, Lodge 135 was formed.
Nationally, the FOP has more than 324,000 members in more than 2,100 lodges. The organization helps its members through education, legislation, information, community involvement, and employee representation.
Although the FOP is not a union, the group's purpose is to improve the working conditions of police officers with lobbying and legal support.
The FOP in the county was formed partly so that the lodge could bargaining for better pay and retirement—especially for the Somerset County Sheriff's office, which has substandard pay and benefits as compared to the other Sherriff’s offices on the Shore and throughout the State. The first item on the agenda when the Lodge was formed was to lobby for better salaries for sheriff's deputies in an effort to make the department more competitive with neighboring counties.
Although the lodge has now been around for 13 years the goal has not changed. The primary goal of Lodge 135 has been to get county and local politicians to show their gratitude and respect for the men and women of Law Enforcement in the county. In a job unlike any other profession, in a continually changing environment, Officers in the county only want to provide for their families with comparable benefits and salaries that are comparable to other agencies in the State.
Lodge 135, since its beginning, has been dedicated to helping, donating and serving the citizens of Somerset County. Every year the lodge donates thousands of dollars, ranging from Christmas gifts for struggling families, to donating money to local baseball leagues, catholic charities, Department of Social Services, grieving families and the list goes on. Our donations sometime extend to help our fellow brothers and sisters in blue as well which has included donating over $8,000 to the 5 Fallen Dallas Officers.
Police Officers often have huge hearts, undeniable dedication and an extreme loyalty to service; The men and Women who protect Somerset County, the members of Lodge 135 are these Officers.