Emerald Society

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Suburban firemen marching in New York's St Patrick Day parade

The Emerald Society is an organization of American police officers or fire fighters of Irish heritage. The Emerald Society for firemen was founded by Michael C. Donohue in New York City on March 17, 1956 (St. Patrick's Day) to preserve the music, culture, language and traditions of Ireland [1], but primarily to protect Irish firefighters.[2] Emerald Societies are now found in most major U.S. cities such as New York City, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, WI, Jersey City, NJ, District of Columbia, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Colorado, Baltimore and Cincinnati. Federal law enforcement officers such as Special Agents and Customs and Border Protection officers and who are of Irish/Gaelic descent are eligible to join the Emerald Society of the Federal Law Enforcement Agencies.

The organization known as the National Conference of Law Enforcement Emerald Societies (NCLEES) states that its objectives are:

  • To unite all public safety Emerald Societies in order to develop fraternalism amongst its members.
  • To preserve the Irish culture and to promote the contributions of our ancestors.
  • To recognize the accomplishments of Irish-Americans in Law Enforcement and other public safety professions.
  • To exchange information and enhance communications among member organizations and to start new public safety Emerald Societies.
  • To provide a unified and effective voice for its member organizations to the Congress of the United States and other government institutions.
  • To work with civic and public safety associations on areas of mutual concerns.[3]

While the organization is geared toward Irish-American culture, Irish heritage is not listed as a requirement for membership.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Urbanowicz, G. R. (2002). Badges of the Bravest: A Pictorial History of the Fire Departments in New York City. Paducah, KY: Turner Publishing Company
  2. ^ http://fdnyemerald.org/mission.html
  3. ^ N.C.L.E.E.S