Our founder Harold Strohson, Esq., a former Nassau County Police Officer and retired Justice of the District Court of Nassau County, formed our Association. The first charter was granted under the name "Nassau - Suffolk Counties, State of New York, Former Peace Officers Association, Inc." Records indicate that the first formal meeting with a board of directors listed as signatories was held on January 11, 1950. Judge Strohson remained active with the Association, as Legal Counsel, until his death in 1983. The associations name was changed in 1981 and it is now known as The Retired Police Association of the State of New York, Inc.
In 1978 then President, Bill Bergeman had the foresight to create the position of Legislative Representative. The Legislative with the assistance of other RPA traveling companions, proceeded to introduce the RPA to the Albany Legislators and the legislative process. By 1983 the RPA had become closely associated with a small group of retiree organizations known as the Alliance of Public Retirees, who would meet monthly as an informal roundtable discussion group, on relative retiree matters.
This Alliance continued to grow and in 1991 they decided to formalize under the name of Alliance of Public Retiree Organizations of New York. Ed Curran, the RPA representative to the Alliance at the time, was elected its first President. The Alliance is now comprised of 34 retiree member organizations who represent over 500,000 New York State public retirees from the various State and New York City Retirement Systems.
From 1978 to the present, the Legislative Representatives of the RPA have been lobbying for the RPA membership in Albany. Because of the efforts of these individuals, the RPA is now recognized statewide as one of the most active and effective retiree member organizations involved in the legislative process in Albany.
To ensure a closer relationship and a cohesive and cooperative effort with the active police unions, the RPA became a member of the Police Conference of New York and the Association of New York State PBA's.
As membership of the RPA increased, so did the need for an effective and efficient medium of communication. In 1977, the RPA newsletter came into existence as a newsletter type of publication, on letter size paper, consisting of 3 to 10 pages. The RPA newsletter of today is published 6 months of the year and is mailed to our worldwide memberships, as well as to law enforcement agencies, public officials, police and retiree organizations throughout the state. RPA members reside in 37 of the 50 states including Alaska and Hawaii and in France and Ireland and number almost 5,000.
As membership both increased and expanded statewide, so did the scope of activities, from a regional fraternal organization to what is now a statewide union of retired police officers, the only such organization in New York State.
When started in 1950 the aims, goals and purpose of the Association were "the welfare, comradeship and assistance of members as well as perpetuating the memory of those deceased and aiding their widows and children." This never changed. As the RPA expanded its role as the voice of the retired police officers in New York State, it was expanded to include bringing to the attention of the legislature and public officials and others as need be, the fair and just needs and concerns of the public retiree.