The Fraternal Order of Police Tri-County Lodge #3 was first chartered on April 3, 1976, as the Charleston County Lodge #3. Thirteen members of the Charleston County Police Department signed the charter and elected Gilbert L. Smith the first president of the organization. Jerry Hicks was elected as Vice President and Robert Graham as the Secretary-Treasurer.
On April 9, 1976, sixteen more members joined the fledgling organization including members from the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, Mt. Pleasant Police Department, and the Lincolnville Police Department.
On September 10, 1976, the Lodge was recognized by the State of South Carolina as an incorporated entity.
By 1978, the Lodge had grown to nearly 200 members which included officers from City of Charleston Police Department, Folly Beach Police Department, North Charleston Police Department, and several state and federal agencies.
During it’s early years, the lodge tackled politicians, chiefs, and sheriffs by demanding better pay, better benefits, and better working conditions. By being the voice of the local rank and file officer, the Fraternal Order of Police gained numerous victories. Increased pay and fair promotional opportunities slowly began to evolve for officers in Charleston County.
The Lodge began to extend it’s membership and efforts to Berkeley County and Dorchester County transforming to the Tri-County Lodge. When the membership grew, officers from the Charleston Police Department decided to form a lodge specific to the needs and demands of their agency. In 1980, the Charleston Metro Lodge #5 formed.
In 1986, officers from Berkeley County decided to form Lodge #19. Once Lodge #19 opened, Tri-County Lodge #3 accepted Colleton County law enforcement officers into the ranks.
In 1988, the Tri-County FOP was one of the leaders in securing the 25-year retirement which had previously been 30 years.
In 2016, officers from Dorchester County formed Lodge #48, which represents officers from the Town of Summerville and Dorchester County.
The tradition of serving and protecting the law enforcement officer continues today for the Tri-County Fraternal Order of Police. With over 900 members, the Tri-County Lodge #3, truly lives up to it’s motto of “Serving the Law Officers of the Lowcountry.”