The FOP celebrated its 64th Biennial National Conference in New Orleans from August 12 to 15, with 4,187 registered delegates and 534 registered alternates, plus guests, family members and supporters, making it one of the best-attended Conferences to date. Members enjoyed the many colorful floats of Mardi Gras, sampled a taste of Louisiana cuisine and Cajun music, and tested their football skills at the Manning Experience in the Superdome. A special thank-you to the Louisiana State Lodge for showing everyone such a good time!
Several guest speakers, including Louisiana Lieutenant Governor William Nungesser, New Orleans City Manager LaTonya Cantrell, U.S. Congressman from Louisiana Steve Scalise and U.S. Attorney General William Barr, addressed the delegation. The Expo was once again a huge success, with more than 130 vendors showcasing their products and services to the members. The President’s Award was presented to Larry James and Jim Pasco. The outgoing National Trustees received plaques for their service and dedication to the organization: Jim Crowley (29 years), Duane Phillips (23 years), Joe Perkins (19 years), Gary Wallace (14 years), Dave Mutchler (5 years), Tori Beauchemin (4 years), Joseph Greenya (3 years), Danny Overly (3 years), Steve Wolosin (3 years), Terry Fortenberry (2 years) and Jake Crowley (1 year). Cheryl Penoza received the Employee Award for her 20 years of service. Donations totaling $2,832 were taken up for Easterseals, and $11,154 was raised for Special Olympics. The Foundation held a silent auction and raffle, raising $9,622.
Two amendments were brought to the business floor, with both of them passing. Five resolutions were submitted; four passed and one was tabled. The delegates of the 64th Biennial National Conference elected the following members to the Executive Board for the next two years:
2019 FOP Member of the Year: Phil Wiggins
Phil Wiggins began his law enforcement career with the Durham Police Department in 1969 and joined Durham County FOP Lodge #2 in 1971. In 1974, he left the police department to pursue his degree in religious education. The Southern Baptist Association certified him as an ordained minister, and he went on to earn his Master of Religious Education degree. In 1983, Phil returned to the Durham Police Department as a public safety officer. He worked Uniform Patrol in District 1 and on a couple of street crimes units, being promoted to corporal. His next assignment was a Take Back the Streets initiative. A promotion to sergeant found him assigned to Uniform Patrol in District 1 once again, and then to the Organized Crimes Division. In 1999, Phil was promoted to the rank of captain and was the executive officer first for the administrative major, then for the chief of police. His last assignment was as commander of Uniform Patrol Support Services. Phil retired from the Durham Police Department in 2003 at the rank of captain.
Phil was appointed Grand Lodge chaplain in 2009 and has been reappointed each term since. Since his appointment as National chaplain, he has attended each Grand Lodge Peace Officers’ Memorial Service. Phil is also currently the elected chaplain for the North Carolina FOP State Lodge, having been re-elected continuously since 1994. In addition, he has been the elected chaplain for his local lodge since 1986, except for the years 1996–2000, when he was lodge president. He has participated in Durham County Lodge #2’s annual Peace Officers Memorial Services for the past 33 years. During his law enforcement career and service to the Durham Police Department, he also served as the department chaplain.
Phil Wiggins is continuously performing services for law enforcement officers, members of the FOP and citizens within the community. He is committed to enhancing the spiritual and emotional well-being of our members, officers and anyone he knows or meets. The FOP is proud to present him with the award for 2019 Member of the Year. Congratulations!