Our Department

Covington places a huge importance on the safety of its citizens. The Covington Police Department strives to deliver a high quality service to both residents and visitors, proudly guarding the "Gateway to the South" with honor and distinction. The Department is the largest law enforcement agency in Northern Kentucky with over 100 officers that provide a full range of police services throughout the City. The Police Department also works closely with County and State partners to maximize its resources in the areas of drug enforcement, patrol and other means of combating crime.

Mission & Values

The Mission of the Covington Police Department is to promote the following core functions:

  • Reduce Crime

  • Reduce the Fear of Crime

  • Call Offenders to Account

  • Ensure Safety in Public Spaces

  • Use Resources Fairly, Efficiently and Effectively

  • Use Force/ Authority Fairly, Efficiently and Effectively

  • Provide Excellent Customer Service

All members of the Covington Police Department strive to demonstrate integrity, professionalism, justice, and compassion.


  • February 8, 1815 - The Town of Covington is formed by an act of the Kentucky General Assembly.
  • January 1817 - Jacob Hardin is appointed to the position of “Captain of Patrol” for the Town of Covington. Two “Patrollers” were commissioned to work for the Captain. The patrol area included the Town and eight miles of surrounding territory.
  • December 14, 1825 - The town of Covington is empowered to pass and enforce penal laws of its own. The first laws covered cock fighting, liquor sales, bathing in the river and shooting guns in the town’s limits.
  • June 20, 1833 - The Town of Covington appoints Isaac Martin as its first fulltime Marshall. The Marshall enforced laws and collected of taxes. For this position Isaac Martin was paid $70.00 per year.
  • February 24, 1834 - The City of Covington, Kentucky is incorporated by an act of the Kentucky General Assembly.  
  • March 9, 1842 - Position of “Police Commissioner” is created although current historical record does not articulate the Commissioner’s duties. He is paid $75.00 per year.
  • April 20, 1843 - Covington City Ordinance creates the “Voluntary Night Watch”. This watch is comprised of seventy-one reputable persons invested with police authority.
  • March 6, 1856 - City ordinance calls for the creation of a citizen’s police force.
  • May 1856 - Covington City Marshall Clinton Butts is assaulted by members of the Turners Society. The members of the Turners Society, armed with a multitude of weapons, were marching near Fourth and Scott Streets when they refused the Marshall’s order to stop. Marshall Butts lost his right arm in the altercation. Deputy Marshall Harvy lost a portion of his skull as the result of a saber blow from one of the angry Turners members.
  • April 23, 1861 - Eleven days after the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter, an ordinance establishing volunteer corps of police, known as the “Citizens Guards”, was signed.
  • July 19, 1862 - Marshall Clinton Butts is named Chief of Police for the City of Covington. The force he commanded was still a volunteer unit.
  • February, 5 1869 - Marshall John T. Thompson was shot while affecting an arrest near the toll house on the Robeling Bridge. Thompson would die of his wounds on February 28, of that same year becoming the first line of duty death in Covington.
  • August 22, 1873 - City Council approves the purchase and issue on the first police uniforms for the force. Each uniform, including clubs and whistles, costs $60.
  • January 4, 1883 - City Marshall John A. Goodson is named Chief of the “New Covington Police Force”. Goodson holds the distinction of being the last City Marshall and the First Chief of a full time paid police department in the city. 
  • May 3, 1898 - First use of bicycles in policing in the City of Covington is authorized. City Commission funds the purchase of two bicycles for Police Department use.

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