Warwick F.O.P., Lodge #7
In the best Lynch tradition, Mike W. Lynch took to police work naturally. He devoted much of his adult life tot he force, serving as a police officer from 1947 until 1978.
Michael W. Lynch went from patrolman to detective and then to Sergeant of Detectives. As Sergeant he ran the Narcotics Squad for six years. He recalled how the drug problem had become so great that it was necessary to place undercover police officers in the schools. He noted that, often, the only person, other than the police officers directly involved, who was aware of the police in the schools, was the school superintendent.
In the 1970's, spurred by the creation of large shopping malls, car theft and shoplifting vied with drug abuse as the major police problem. To help cope with these problems, many changes were made in modernizing the force. Mike was placed in charge of the Tactical Unit in 1963, and graduated from the Federal Narcotics Academy in Washington in 1966. In 1971, after 24 years on the Warwick Police force, Sergeant Lynch became the first executive director of Rhode Island's Municipal Police Training School.
Sona Goodblatt, in a Warwick Beacon article in April, 1971, noted that Lynch, "...is a man whose avocation and vocation, police work, are the same." At that time, Lynch very modestly commented, "I'm not proficient in any one hobby. I enjoy police work." During his long career, Mike served under police chiefs Sprague, Lynch, Mitchell, Gallucci, Audet and Coutcher. He has provided a great deal of leadership in many areas, including the formation of the first Fraternal Order of Police Lodge in Warwick.
Michael W. Lynch has often stated that his role in the establishment of the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #7, was one of his most significant achievements. Lynch, whose grandfather, father, uncles and brothers had all been engaged in police work in Warwick, helped to organize the Warwick Lodge in 1952. Lynch also had the honor of serving as its first president.
In 1952, Mike Lynch, Leo D. Sloan, Alvin Nordquist and several others felt the need for a fraternal organization to give Warwick's police a fellowship where common interests could be considered. They felt the club could provide an outlet for social activities and a healthy avenue for the discussion and implementation of better working conditions. Lynch, a "policeman's policeman," believed that the City of warwick and the police force could conclude a number of "gentleman's agreements" that would promote better morale and stimulate a more vital police force.
During the first four years of its existence, the Warwick F.O.P., Lodge #7, rented quarters on Post Road in Apponaug. In 1956, shortly after Reverend James A. Coyle died, the Lodge was able to purchase the Coyle family house and land on Tanner Avenue. The property, once known as Walnut Grove, belonged to Darryl D. Coyle during the mid-19th century. The large 2 1/2 story, frame house seemed suited to the Lodge's need for a facility that would lend itself to use as a meeting hall for its members and be large enough for social activities as well.
Almost immediately, the police began to modernize the more that one hundred year old house. A centra oil-heating system was installed to replace the old kitchen stove and fireplaces which had provided the building's only heat. Walls were removed to make a large meeting room, and acoustical tiles, paneling and new floor coverings were installed. In the summer of 1958, the building was ready for occupancy by the F.O.P. At this time, there were 70 regular members and a 52-member women's auxiliary.
Leo D. Sloan
Unfortunately, one of the Lodge's most active members, Leo D. Sloan, had died in 1956. Sloan was the original chairman of the unit's legislative committee and a man very anxious to see the F.O.P. in a permanent home. According to an article written in 1958, Sloan "was instrumental in winning establishment of a five-day week, an improved pension plan, and a larger clothing allowance..." for Warwick's police force. He had been disabled after suffering an enlargement of the heart, which occurred when he rescued a woman from a well in Conimicut in 1953. After his death, his fellow officers decided to dedicate the Lodge's home in his memory.