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International Footprint Association, Inc.

A Brief History

This association was started in a spirit of fun at a convention of the California Division of the International Association for Identification held in Fresno, California on May 11, 1929. Its original object was to promote fun, friendship and entertainment at conventions of any group of law enforcement officers.

The original organizers were eleven in number and each year the membership increased. In 1931 the Footprinters held a convention of their own in San Francisco, California at which time about three hundred members were in attendance. Due to the lack of funds the monies were financed by William Shoppe and Walter Vervais from the public relations funds of the California State Automobile Association and the National Automobile Theft Bureau. The Footprinters were incorporated on January 26, 1932, and since that time has been known as the International Footprint Association, Incorporated.

The purposes for which this organization was formed, as set forth in the Articles of Incorporation, is to encourage good fellowship, mutual respect and helpfulness between peace officers, federal law enforcement agencies, units of commercial organizations contacting peace officers, and all persons having a sympathetic attitude and understanding toward law enforcement and law enforcement agencies; to promote the welfare and enhance the happiness of its members, and to promote the spirit of Americanism. The Bylaws have, for many years, included judges and firefighters in their classification of "peace officers."

Annual conventions are held in cities where there are a large number of Footprint members. On June 6, 1935, at a meeting of the Board of Directors held in Los Angeles, California, it was voted to form the organization into chapters, each chapter so formed to be subordinate to the Grand Chapter also formed at the same time as the governing body.

The slogan adopted by the organization was "BIGGER AND BETTER FOOTPRINTS", which stands for close cooperation between all law enforcement agencies as well as business and professional people, the latter two groups being eligible to become members of the organization.

The symbol of the organization is that of the fictional characters, Robinson Crusoe and his man Friday, the former following the footprint of the latter on the sands of the beach where Crusoe was shipwrecked and by that means, following footprints, resulted in excellent cooperation between Crusoe and Friday, which is the ideal of this organization.

(Note: This brief history is being disseminated to our membership following a number of inquiries by members, especially our newer ones, on how and when the IFA came into existence. This short history should answer some of those questions.)

"Yours for Bigger and Better Footprints"
International Footprint Association — Chapter #72
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