KPD Department History

Police Chief

Eve M. Thomas
(865) 215-7000

800 Howard Baker Jr. Ave.
Knoxville, TN 37915

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Members of the Knoxville Police Department circa 1910

History of Police DeptThe History of the Knoxville Police Department begins in January 1802 with the appointment of Jacob Reed as Town Sergeant. The title changed to High Constable in 1816 and later Marshall in 1840. Marshal D.J. Stacks was the last town marshal. Marshal Stacks urged the forming of a police force. He was the only member of the new police force until Fuller Ryan was appointed his first assistant in 1854.

In January 1857 the first regular Chief of Police was named and the first brass buttoned officer patrolled the streets of Knoxville. They wore a "Prince Albert" gray coat with standing collar.

In 1860 another change was made with the election of the first Chief Of Police/Tax collector/Market Master, Chief Marshal Pesterfield.

History of Police DeptThe Knoxville Police Department began serving the public on foot, as well as, on horse back. There tales that officers used bicycles to chase cars when motor cars first made the public scene.