In 1822 the town of Christianville and the town of Rossville combined to form the incorporated town of Kingsport. The second oldest town in Sullivan County, Kingsport was considered the largest and most influential city in the county. Almost 100 years elapsed before Kingsport officially became a city in March 1917. Until that time, all law enforcement was performed by constables and the Sheriff of Sullivan County.
Upon being notified that the City had been chartered, the new governing body appointed George Barger as Chief of Police and three additional officers, W.P. Flora, A.R. Hagy, and Sam Barger, to serve and protect the City of Kingsport. Sullivan County Deputies W.W. Leedy and S.P. Devault were also still assigned to patrol the city.
The City of Kingsport has had fifteen Police Chiefs since its charter, the current being Chief Dale Phipps. Currently Chief Phipps heads the department of nearly 120 sworn officers supplemented by several additional full-time and part time non-sworn personnel, for a total of approximately 180 employees. In addition, the department has a very dedicated Volunteer Services Program.
These officers patrol a city that is roughly 50 square miles in size, and encompasses land in both Sullivan and Hawkins counties. The City has a population of approximately 55,000 citizens and has over 450 miles of roadway including approximately 25 miles of interstate highways.
The Kingsport Police Department also operates the city’s 911 Communications Center. K.P.D. is unique in that it is one of the few remaining municipal police departments in the state that operate an in-house city jail.
The Kingsport Police Department moved into the current Justice Center in 1989. Shortly after this move, the department was able to achieve a significant goal by obtaining national accreditation. K.P.D. was the first law enforcement agency in the East Tennessee region, as well as being only the third agency in the entire State of Tennessee, to achieve this honor.
Five KPD police officers have lost their lives in the line of duty. Click here to read more about Our Fallen Officers.