I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the International Police Association. The IPA is one of the most unique and interesting social organizations in the world. With almost 300,000 members in nearly 61 member nations, it is the largest fraternal organization for law enforcement in the world! It is also the only law enforcement organization to have a seat at the United Nations General Assembly. This non-profit organization is dedicated “to unite in service and friendship, all active and retired members of the law enforcement service throughout the world”. The IPA strives to enhance the image of the police in its member countries, and to facilitate international cooperation through friendly contacts between police officers of all continents. Membership is open to any serving or retired law enforcement officer meeting the requirements for membership in the United States Section. Membership is offered regardless of rank, race, sex, color, religion or creed.
The IPA was formed by the late Sgt. Arthur Throop in Lincolnshire, England in 1950. This began with his dream to have police officers band together through friendship around the world. This is evidenced in the organization’s motto “Servo Per Amikeco” which means “Service Through Friendship”. As law enforcement officers, we are often an isolated and alienated group who enjoy sharing common experiences with others of similar backgrounds. The IPA offers an opportunity for cultural exchange and contacts on a local, national and international level. It is also a tremendous organization for members, and their families, who wish to travel.
Members are often extended courtesies, offered assistance and given tours that would not normally be available to the general public. If you are a traveler seeking fun, excitement and new friends in either close or far away places, it’s always comforting having a friendly face there to meet you. The IPA offers something a travel agency cannot; nobody knows the city or town like the police officer who lives or works there. There is a worldwide network of willing member hosts and established ‘IPA houses’. These provide members with low cost, sometimes free where available, accommodations and guidance during travels throughout the U.S. and abroad. These experiences often generate lifelong friendships.
If you are a hobbyist or collector you will find a corresponding member throughout the world ready to exchange information or collectibles. Insignias, uniforms, stamps, ham radio operators, pen pals, etc. are but a few. There is also a very successful youth exchange program within the IPA. Our program is in partnership with the AYUSA International Student Exchange Organization. This is a fabulous opportunity to host an IPA member’s high school age son or daughter from another member country for a school year and vice versa. Another program for our kids is the annual International Youth Gathering. Each year two children of IPA members, from the U.S. Section, are selected from those applying and join 40 participants from other IPA member countries. They are hosted by one of the member countries for a 2 week fun and educational experience.
Each year the delegates from all 60 U.S. Section regions convene to conduct the business of the U.S. Section at the National Delegates Conference. There is always something going on somewhere in the U.S., or elsewhere in the world, with the IPA. Membership in the association is granted after submittal of an application with documentation and the registration fee with first year’s dues totaling $25.00. Thereafter, annual membership dues are $20.00. We are the only organization that can claim “we give you the world for $20”.