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June 07, 2023
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History of the SLPOA
Updated On: May 22, 2023

The organization of St. Louis police officers was originally started back in 1945 when a group of officers joined the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Union.  This organization was affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and granted a Charter to the St. Louis, Missouri, Police Department, and their successors under the title of Local Union No. 549 for the purpose of a thorough organization of the service and more perfect Federation of all Trade and Labor Unions.  This Union being duly formed, was empowered, and authorized to initiate into its membership any person or persons in accordance with the constitution of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees and to conduct the business affairs of said Union in compliance with the best interests of the service and labor in general.  The Union was chartered as St. Louis Police Local Union 549 on October 31st, 1945.  The key members in bringing this charter to fruition were Richard C. Miller, Bernard C. Casserly, Michael Fleming, Joseph M. Galinski, George V. Fahrenhorst, Orazio D. Antons, John P. Wittrock, Alex F. Kaiser, Louis Calcatirra, Edward C. Benjamin, Lyle T. Medd, and Daniel E. King.

In 1968, The St. Louis Police Officers’ Association was born under the leadership of Jim Fitzgerald, Bob Nichols, Don Heady and Glenn Lodl, to name a few.  The organization, from this time forward, was affectionately known as SLPOA.  The organization's headquarters was originally located at 3102 S. Grand Ave. and later relocated to 3710 Hampton Ave. where it remains today.  The main objective of the organization was to advance the moral, social, and material standing of the members of the Association by honorable and lawful means.  As a labor organization, the objective of the Association was designed to achieve Collective Bargaining with Binding Arbitration.

On June 20, 1996, the SLPOA was affiliated with and chartered as a lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, (FOP), the largest police organization in the world with approximately 330,000 members in North America and Europe.  SLPOA was designated FOP Lodge #68 in honor of its founding year.

In May of 2007, the Missouri Supreme Court overturned a 60-year legal precedent ruling that public sector employees have a constitutional right to engage in collective bargaining with their employers, paving the way for contract negotiations.  It took until May of 2011 for the SLPOA to finally achieve their first contract led by Labor Attorney Sally Barker, who had previously argued and won the Supreme Court Case leading to this new standard; Independence-National Education Association v. Independence School District, SC87980.

Today, SLPOA continues to advocate for police officers through legislative efforts, maintaining and pursuing collective bargaining rights and securing due process rights for its members.  Membership now includes active officers from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, and the St. Louis Airport Police Department.  SLPOA also represents the civilian employees from the Metropolitan Police Department as well as prosecutors and investigators from the St. Louis County Prosecutor's Office.  


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