The Order of the Rose is an international, non-government organization that specializes in law enforcement. The Order recruits civilians- among them many convicted criminals and other "criminal underworld" types- to assist legitimate law enforcement agencies in solving crimes, especially those acts committed by individuals outside of society's radar. It was founded in 272 by Gaius Marinus in the midst of the Roman Crisis of the Third Century, where Marinus decided he had to take the law into his own hands given the ineffectiveness of legitimate Roman officials at the time. Though it operates under questionable legality, the Order has expanded worldwide with chapters in almost all major cities, and is mostly seen as an effective ally by law enforcement agents. It is currently led by Grand Chief Rikki Black.
The Order is officially a completely civilian-run and civilian led entity whose mission is to help administer law enforcement operations around the world. Membership is open to anyone in the world, though prospective applicants are required to go through extensive interviews and personality testing to see if they are fit to join. Thus, many- though not all- of the members the Order are former convicted felons or people who are otherwise disqualified from joining more traditional law enforcement agencies, as the Order is their only route to a meaningful law enforcement career if they seek one. Indeed- like founder Marinus- what drives many Order members is a need for penance for their crimes and to "stop others from making the mistakes we made", as Grand Chief Rikki Black once stated in 2015 to the Roman Free Press.
The Order has strict rules governing its conduct, foremost of which is that Order members follow all applicable laws in their jurisdiction. This includes following whatever procedures exist for lawful searches and seizures in their jurisdiction and whatever limitations are placed on civilians in those regards. Furthermore, stiff penalties- ranging from fines to outright expulsion from the Order- can be applied to these would-be rogues, who can also be referred to legitimate law enforcement bodies.
Nevertheless, despite these penalties, there is a perception among law enforcement types that the Order are simply a group of vigilantes who have a cavalier attitude towards the law. The Order has done a lot of work to counter this idea but its reputation remains, and this reputation has made The Order a polarizing subject among law enforcement agencies. Many still see the value in The Order (especially when considering that there may be no better expert at fighting crimes than those who have done the deed themselves) while others keep them at arm's length, while still others view them as criminals themselves.
The Order is governed by the Charter of The Rose, which outlines the organization's key rules, regulation and administration. All members of The Order are bound by the Charter, with Charter provisions only being open to change if a "super-majority" of 75% of Order members agree to that change.
Membership totals for The Order are unknown, but estimates range from 500,000 to over five million members. What is known about The Order is that it is highly centralized with a "top down" approach, with a strict hierarchy of members in place with each having their own set of responsibilities.
Every leadership role within The Order- right from the local chapters to the top, the Grand Chief- are voted into their position via an election of all applicable members (for example, the Chapter Chief is voted in solely by members of their Chapter while the Grand Chief is subject to a vote of all Order members). Leaders serve for life or unless they resign their position, although if 2% of the applicable electorate call for a "recall" election a vote can be held.
At the top of the pyramid is the Grand Chief, who has virtually absolute rule over the entire Order. The Grand Chief's power is only held in check by the Charter but, as the Order's ultimate authority, the Grand Chief is open to interpret the Charter in any way they like, and their interpretation is final. Appeals of lower level decisions can be brought to the Grand Chief, who can then make a final judgement on the matter. The Grand Chief can also unilaterally issue decisions that the entire membership is bound to, and is not required to "confer" with members before making any decisions.
Nevertheless, the Grand Chief typically holds a "Grand Council" meeting somewhere in the world every four months, where the Order's regional leaders gather and voice their concerns to the Grand Chief. The Order recognizes 14 different Regional Chapters, with two regions for each continent. One of those regions is Roman (which includes Rome's allies and other affiliated states), with the other continental region representing the non-Roman states. Beyond the regions are the constituent countries (or provinces, if a country is big enough) of those regions, grouped as "National Chapters". The National Chapters are then divided into Districts, who are then divided into Municipal Chapters at the lowest level.
The current Grand Chief is Rikki Black, an Irishwoman who gained the Chiefdom in 2011. She has been instrumental in establishing The Order as a global presence and has done tremendous work towards rectifying the relationship between The Order and more traditional law enforcement agencies. She has become an immensely popular figure worldwide- not just within The Order- though her detractors (most notably The Virus and their leader, Danforth Grayson) have accused her of being "too close to the establishment" and thus "out of touch with reality", which Black has vehemently denied.
The Order's members are identified through the use of large tattoos of the Order's logo that affixed to the bodies of Order members as well on their complimentary jackets. For women, the tattoo goes on their belly, while for men the tattoo goes across their chest. The tattoo is not mandatory, but then it is required that the Order member wear their jacket at all times so that the Order logo can be displayed prominently. The Order also requires its members to wear as many garments that are royal blue as possible, as royal blue is the Order's official colour.
The only exception to the colour rule is the attire of the Grand Chief, who wears red in order to differentiate themselves from the rest of the membership.
Other than those rules, Order members are allowed to wear whatever they like. They can even add tattoos to their bodies as long as the Order's logo remains prominent. The Order's rules have been criticized as "impractical", but the Order has countered that it "wishes to maintain the independence of our members and that our members fully know the risks." The Order has also made accommodations for those who have exceptional circumstances, such as allowing Deadpool to have the logo sewn on to his bodysuit, which he wears for medical reasons due to his body's burns.