A nationwide discussion continues about police unions. Critics say they keep officers from being held accountable.
KX News has been diving into how this system works in the Peace Garden State.
North Dakota doesn’t have a police union. The closest thing is the North Dakota Fraternal Order of Police.
President and Bismarck Police Sgt. Mitch Wardzinski says it’s actually a nonprofit.
The FOP does function much like unions, in the fact that with monthly dues, officers are provided legal assistance at any time. But unlike joining a union, officers cannot go on strike.
“The fraternal order of police, nationally, started back in 1915; two cops out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The working conditions for cops back then weren’t ideal: 12 hours on, 12 hours off, no days off. And, these two officers got together and they formed an association, originally, just to work for better working conditions for cops,” Sgt. Wardzinski shared.
He says the majority of police in the state are part of the ND FOP. Out of a total of about 1,300 officers, he says a little over a thousand are members.