While the present association was established in 1955, the value of such an organization was expressed as early as April 21, 1936 in a letter to all officers from Richard E. McSweeney, Chief U.S. Probation Officer for the District of Massachusetts. The real effort to organize, however, came in 1948 when a committee was formed to study the establishment of a national association. Later, at a regional training institute in 1951 in Madison, Wisconsin, the officers in attendance accepted the earlier committee report and constituted themselves as a Federal Probation Officers Association. Within the next three years, the officers in the remaining four regions ratified the proposed constitution and, in 1954, the first national officers were elected: Richard F. Doyle, ED/MI, President; Claude Goza, ND/GA, Vice-President; and Arch Saylor, SD/NY, Secretary-Treasurer. The Executive Board was completed by the selection of five regional representatives. On February 4, 1955 the first board meeting was held at Lexington, Kentucky.
From the outset, the Association has been a major influence in the growth and direction of the Federal Probation and Pretrial Services System. During its early years, the Association contributed to the establishment of an improved, standardized salary plan, influenced a needed increase in the number of officers and served a major function in assuring qualification of officers for hazardous duty retirement. With reorganization, a sixth regional representative joined the board. In order to assure the flow of vital communication with members, the Newsletter Editor became an ex-officio member to report directly to members on the board's activities. During the ensuing years, the original constitution was amended on several occasions, and through this process, the Association became a not-for-profit corporation, expanded membership to include pretrial services officers, probation officer assistants and pretrial services officers assistants. More recently, the name of the organization was changed to The Federal Probation & Pretrial Officers Association.
The accomplishments of the FPPOA have been many. For example, in cooperation with a private university, it researched and published a compilation of felony registration statutes among the various states. In cooperation with the Federal Judicial Center, it developed and published a guide to public relations for officers. More recently, the FPPOA completed a pay comparability study for the purpose of upgrading the journeyman grade, researched and submitted to the Judicial Conference a retirement study and the anticipated impact on staffing in the nineties, and completed a study on serious assaults against officers on the state and federal levels.
Today, the Association provides national leadership in the professional growth of probation and pretrial services. Working closely with the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the Federal Judicial Center, the Bureau of Prisons, the Sentencing Commission and the Parole Commission, the FPPOA continues to promote professionalism within the federal criminal justice system.