Tulare County was established in 1852. Shortly thereafter, Visalia became the county seat, as well as the trading center for the Central Valley. Policing in frontier Visalia was the responsibility of the Sheriff's Office until 1864 when the first town incorporation took place & town officers were elected. Marshal Kennedy was the first Visalia Town Marshal who "took office" in the midst of great turmoil. The Civil War was being fought & Visalia was in the middle of it.
Marshals continued to provide law enforcement duties until 1923 when the city manager form of government was adopted and the Visalia Police Department came into existence. Chief Court Smith was the first Chief of Police. The Visalia Police Department has been in operation ever since. The Police Department was orginally located at the corner of Church & Acequia Street in the same building with the Fire Department & City Hall.
Since the establishment of the Visalia Police Department, two officers have died in the line of duty; Officer James Rapozo in 1998 & Sgt. Charles "Hugh" Garrison in 1946. Visit our memorial page for further information.