People in police work have a special camaraderie, one that follows them through their careers and well into retirement. The proof is in the success of the International Police Association (IPA), formed in 1950 by Sgt. Arthur Troop in England.
The IPA began with Troop's dream that police officers throughout the world would band together in friendship.
The organization came to the United States in 1962, starting in Buffalo, N.Y. and spread throughout the land. Currently there are more than 360,000 members worldwide.
Now it is expanding in Arizona. The current state group is part of Region 25, based in Phoenix, and includes members in Arizona and New Mexico. There are plans to create a second group in the state for law enforcement officers and retirees in northern Arizona.
Arizona's Grand Canyon/ Northern Arizona Friendship Group of IPA is having its monthly luncheon meeting at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 8 at El Charro Cafe, 409 South San Francisco Street, Flagstaff.
IPA members, all full-time or retired certified peace officers and their guests are invited to attend.
The new group will be discussed at the meeting, according to Paul Sauerbrey, one of the members from Munds Park.
The original intent of the IPA was to promote international friendships among law enforcement officers. It remains a strictly cultural, social and recreational organization. The members promote goodwill among police officers from all free nations in the world, worldwide travel and hospitality toward traveling police officers from all over the world. At no time does the IPA take part in any matter of departmental policy, discipline or labor activity.
One of the group's newest members, Larry Tubbs of Payson, said he joined because he would like to host officers in his Chaparral Pines home.
Sterling Smith, an IPA member living in Payson, said he had the opportunity to introduce IPA to law enforcement officers in the Eastern European countries after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Michelle Dyer of Payson is the group's newest recruit, a retired detective, having served 22 years with the Phoenix Police Department, she signed up March 5. "They're such a good bunch," she said.
To find out more about IPA, just enter "ipa" in any search engine, Renee Sauerbrey said, and the website link will be given. Region 25 information is available by scrolling down to it on the site. The e-mail address for the friendship group is firstname.lastname@example.org.