The first Asian American law enforcement association, the California Oriental Peace Officers’ Association (C.O.P.O.A.), was formed in Los Angeles, California, following the death of Los Angeles Police Department Officer Gary Murakami in 1968. Officer Murakami was the first Asian American peace officer killed in the line of duty.
Six years later, in 1974, the Northern California Oriental Peace Officers’ Association, (N.C.O.P.O.A.), was founded in San Francisco, CA. The organization’s name was later changed to the Northern California Asian Peace Officers’ Association (N.C.A.P.O.A.) and its membership was primarily from the San Francisco Bay Area. Herb Lee, San Francisco Police Department’s first Asian American officer, was chosen as N.C.A.P.O.A.’s first president. Its organizers were members of the San Francisco Police Department, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), Berkeley Police Department, the FBI, and the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
Since the formation C.O.P.O.A. and N.C.A.P.O.A., Asian peace officers from Boston, New York, and other metropolitan areas have organized their own associations, and all are now affiliated under the National Asian Peace Officers’ Association (N.A.P.O.A.). National conventions and training conferences have been held in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles.
An elected executive board comprised of a president, vice-president, secretary, sergeant-at-arms, treasurer, and a ten-member board of directors govern the N.C.A.P.O.A. Members come from all branches of federal, state, and local agencies spanning the entire Bay Area and beyond.