Originally settled in 1852 by Samuel Snyder the small settlement known as Pyra was located just south of Des Moines Iowa. Over the next few years, the community grew and in 1856 the name was changed to Norwalk. This was done by George Sawn. In 1900 Norwalk was first incorporated as a town with a land size of one square mile.
Upon incorporation, law enforcement services for Norwalk were carried out by a Town Marshal and any number of authorized deputy marshals. The last Marshal to serve Norwalk was WL McNamara who began his term in 1965.
In August 1973, Norwalk was first chartered as a City and by ordinance the police department was created. WL McNamara continued to serve as the City Police Officer until October 1974 when Michael W. Richardson became the first Chief of Police for the City of Norwalk. Section 30.01 of the Code of Ordinances for the City of Norwalk establishes the department as follows:
The police department of the City is established to provide for the preservation of peace and enforcement of law and ordinances within the corporate limits of the City.
Chief Richardson served Norwalk for the next 25 years and retired in April 1999. During this time the department staff increased to six officers. Upon Richardson’s retirement, Norwalk’s second chief was hired. Eddie H. Kuhl was sworn in as Chief of Police in August 1999. A number of accomplishments were achieved during Chief Kuhl’s tenure. Most notably:
· Completion of a modern public safety headquarters that continues to allow professional police services to flourish
· Establishment of a written directive system to guide departmental procedures and performance
· Establishment of a connection to the regional dispatching services at Westcom
· Implementation of the School Resource Officer program and the DARE golf tournament
· Increasing the authorized strength of officers to 13
Chief Kuhl retired with distinction in September 2013. A search process for a new Chief of Police was implemented. On January 2, 2014 Mayor Tom Phillips appointed Gregory Staples of Roanoke Virginia as Norwalk’s third Chief of Police. Chief Staples began his tenure in Norwalk one month later in February and continues to serve the community at this time.
The current departmental staff is proud of the long history of service to the community and pledge to continue this high level of service. Officers of the department strive to serve the community in a manner that is reflective of the desires and needs of all residents of Norwalk and continually work to satisfy their mission statement.