About the Police Department

Paducah Police Patch and About Us Banner

The Paducah Police Department has served the City of Paducah and McCracken County since it was founded in 1834. The officers of the Paducah Police Department are proud to continue a tradition of professionalism, respect, integrity, and service to the citizens of Paducah.

The Paducah Police Department is authorized 78 sworn officers, and the department employs 20 telecommunicators and 10 civilian staff. The department is led by Chief of Police Brian Laird. He is supported by Assistant Chief of Support Services Anthony Copeland and Assistant Chief of Operations Joe Hayes. Five captains, seven sergeants, and 58 sworn officers provide the remaining organizational support.    

Paducah has a population of approximately 25,000; however, the City is a regional hub for medical facilities, retail, and hotels. Paducah's population often peaks during the day up to 100,000. 

The Department is divided into four divisions to better serve the community:  

About the Paducah Police Department

Annual Report

The Paducah Police Department compiles an Annual Report summarizing the work accomplished by the department and its specialized units.  Among other things, it provides the public an overview of the department, crime reports, community interactions, and history.  It's a tribute to the men and women of the Paducah Police Department and to the City they serve.  

Read Annual Reports (2010 to Present)


The Department is divided into four divisions to better serve the community.

Police Department Divisions

Frequently Asked Questions

How long until my report is available?     Car Accident reports can take up to five business days from the date of the accident.  Other police reports are usually available three to five business days from the filing of the report.

I would like to pass along a suggestion for the Police Department.  What number do I call?     The Paducah Police Department values the comments from the citizens of Paducah.  To make a comment, suggestion, or complaint, please call 270-444-8534.

I called the police, but no report was taken.  Do you keep records of all calls made to police?     The Police Department would not keep a record of your call.  Your call may be available through the Paducah-McCracken County E911 Center.  Contact them at 270-444-8550.

How do I press charges against someone?     After filing your police report and obtaining a copy, take your report to the County Attorney's office in the Courthouse.  The County Attorney's office will assist you with filing charges. 

Are there fees for reports?     Collision reports are $5.00.  Offense reports are $1.00.  There is an additional fee of $0.10 per page for large reports.  Videotapes/DVDs are $25.00 each.  Photo CDs are $10.00 each.

Can I pay fines or post bond at the Police Department?     Parking citation fines and false alarm ordinance fines are paid at the Finance Department located in City Hall.  Bond fees must be paid at the McCracken County Jail.  Probation fines are paid at the McCracken County Courthouse.

What are Paducah Police Department's hours of operation?     The Police Department has officers on duty 24 hours a day.  The Records Division is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.  During the evening or on weekends, you may use the phone located in the lobby to contact dispatch for immediate assistance.

How do I obtain a copy of my police report?     After your report is complete, it can be picked up at the Police Department, 1400 Broadway, Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  We are unable to fax reports.  You can get a copy online.  Visit Records and Evidence for more information.

What are the laws regarding dogs?     The City of Paducah has several ordinances related to dogs including dogs at special community events, chaining and tethering of dogs, enclosure and chaining requirements for the confinement of dogs, sanitary disposal of dog feces, and precautions for owners of dangerous dogs.  To view all the ordinances related to dogs click Dog Ordinances.

Police Department History

Below is a summary of the history of the Paducah Police Department that was included in the 2018 Annual Report.

Photos:  Top - 1890-1895 period; Bottom - 1933

1880-1895The Paducah Police Department has an illustrious history created by brave men and women from nearly two hundred years of service. The City of Paducah and its police department have seen growth and changes throughout the years. Chief Brandon Barnhill retired at the end of 2018, and he marks the 27th leader of this great law enforcement institution. The department’s history is filled with stories of humor, compassion, heroism, and advancement. Twice a year, retired officers from this agency reconnect for a breakfast and retiree qualification shoot. In 2018, the Police Department sat down with Captain Robert Carr (Ret.) to find out how the road was paved for the current officers that serve and protect visitors and citizens of this city.

Car was hired in 1964 at a time when the department was changing the building it called home. In 1964, City Hall was located on the corner of South 4th Street and Kentucky Avenue, and the police department was in the basement.  The department had one main room for supervisors and a city jail with holding cells or “drunk tanks.”  Carr stated officers made $305.00 a month and received their paychecks every two weeks. This caused officers to seek work outside of law enforcement to be able to provide for their families. There was no academy training or prerequisite to be hired as a police officer until 1974 or 1975. When an officer was hired, they would receive one month of training from riding with a senior officer before being placed on their own. Many agencies during this time frame would allow officers to police without any training at all.  Today, our officers receive twenty weeks of police academy training before completing 16 weeks of additional training at our agency.

The police department divided the city into 5 zones or beats in the sixties. Carr speaks of downtown Paducah being the busiest part of Paducah and requiring officers to conduct foot patrol in the area.  Assigned officers would walk from the riverfront to 7th Street and from Jefferson Street to Kentucky Avenue year-round.  The downtown area also had motorcycle patrol for parking enforcement and traffic.  Later, motorcycle patrol would be replaced by “meter maids.” The department had approximately six patrol vehicles, two detective cars, one supervisor car, and a department paddy wagon for transporting prisoners. The police department vehicle fleet would increase over the years and began allowing officers to drive patrol cars home in the mid-1990s.

1933 photoEquipment was not provided according to Captain Carr. Officers would go to a local sporting goods store to purchase uniforms and guns. Their duty belts were equipped with a .38 revolver, gun holster, hickory night stick, and only a few officers carried handcuffs. Eventually, the department was able to acquire $150.00 per officer a year to purchase needed equipment. Today, officers are issued equipment such as duty weapons and uniforms. He stated many officers only carried the six shot revolvers and no extra ammunition. Officers today are issued semi-automatic pistols and rifles. There was no E-911 call center at that time. If someone needed the police, they would call the department directly to have an officer respond. The department purchased their first communication radios from a local cab company. There was a four foot by four foot alarm switch board in the police department for local businesses such as Michelson’s. Today, E-911 receives emergency and non-emergency calls. On average, the department responds to over 50,000 calls a year.

In 1965, the police department moved with City Hall to 300 S. 5th Street. It continued to be located in the basement and kept holding cells for everything from alcohol intoxication to felony assaults. The police department stayed at the S. 5th Street location until 1995, when they relocated for a short period at the current probation and parole building before moving to the current location at 1400 Broadway.

The Paducah Police Department has evolved over the years to become one of the premier law enforcement agencies in the Commonwealth.  Although we continue to honor our past, we look to improve the future of policing in Paducah.

Police Department Patch

The Paducah Police Department's patch is a unique symbol of the department. The patch was featured in the October 2010 edition of the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin magazine, published by the Department of Justice.

The patch honors Paducah and the Native American Indians who first inhabited the land in this region. The patch is modeled after the statue located in the 1900 block of Jefferson Street. The statue was sculpted by Lorado Taft in 1909. Taft was a famous sculptor from that time period and has many works still displayed throughout the United States.

Police Foundation of Paducah-McCracken County

The Police Foundation of Paducah McCracken County, Inc. was formed in 2015.  It represents a public/private partnership, 501(c)(3), designed to assist the Paducah Police Department in building positive relationships within the community, improving officer proficiency and safety, and augmenting law enforcement equipment and technology in order to enhance public safety and quality of life within the City of Paducah.  The foundation accepts donations.

 Police Foundation of Paducah-McCracken County

Specialized Assignments - K-9, Bomb Squad, SWAT, etc.

The Paducah Police Department has numerous specialized assignments and teams including K-9, Bomb Squad, and SWAT.

Specialized Assignments

Strategic Plan for Police Department

Paducah Police Department Strategic Plan 2014-2016

Reduce Crime - Enhance patrol capabilities; explore on-line reporting; standardize patrol response (telephone reports); increase investigative capabilities through partnerships; increase investigative technology and equipment.

Enhance Recruitment & Career Development - Expand efforts through community forums and meetings.  The police department remains committed to recruiting an applicant pool that is reflective of the community.  The applicant pool rarely has the number of females and minorities that would give us the desired diversity in the workforce.  We will continue to focus our recruitment efforts on attracting a more diverse applicant pool while maintaining our high employment standard to ensure a professional workforce.  We also must be proactive in identifying and coordinating succession planning for future leaders.  Mentoring education, leadership training, and rotational duty assignments will be utilized to develop our future leaders.

Community Engagement - Our crime reduction efforts are dependent upon strong engagement with all segments of the community.  We continue our challenge of getting citizens and business owners with busy schedules involved with the police department and their neighborhoods.  Our goal is for citizen and neighborhood involvement to be proactive rather than reactive.

Provide Exemplary Training Solutions - Assess current operational style, utilize new technology, equipment and multimedia sources to deliver current and timely training.  The on-going rapid change in technology creates multiple problems for the department.  The technology and training to investigate these types of crimes is expensive, and the training is complex.

Strengthen Domestic Preparedness - Strengthen knowledge of emergency operations, compatibility and partnerships; securing/hardening of current operations headquarters; continue advancement toward a new police department facility.  Ensure all our supervision is trained in the ICS protocols.

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