Conklin reached out to the community in 2012 to start a FOP in Palm Coast, and it has since grown to 150 members.
In early 2012, Ron Conklin placed an item in the Palm Coast Observer in search of retired or former law enforcement officers who would like to form a Fraternal Order of Police Lodge in the area. He says he received an overwhelmingly positive response. The lodge began with just 12 members and today has a membership of over 150.
In January 2021, nearly nine years later, he was presented with a lifetime membership award for his service. Conklin admits to being "totally surprised" by the honor, adding that he has "devoted much of [his] retired life in service for this FOP lodge."
When asked about lessons he learned in his years as a police officer, Conklin says he learned to "listen before judging" and to "help people when they are in need" first and foremost.
The Fraternal Order of Police is the largest law enforcement organization in the U.S. with approximately 350,000 members in 2,100 lodges. To become a member, one must have served honorably as a sworn police officer and have the credentials to prove it. That being said, Conklin makes a point to mention that "the lodge also will gladly accept non-police citizens over the age of 18 of good character who would like to participate in lodge functions and activities."
The Fraternal Order of Police of Palm Coast meets at 2511 Moody Blvd., Flagler Beach. Their general membership meeting is held on the second Tuesday of the month at noon, and visitors are welcome. Find out more on their website: www.foplodge171.org.