Department History

When the City of DeSoto was incorporated in 1949, A.E. “Dot” Parks became the first lawman in the City. Mr. Parks was appointed the first City Marshal and was furnished with a Henry J car to drive on patrol.

A.P. Bagley took over as City Marshal in 1952. He also owned the Sinclair Gas Station in town and served eight years as City Marshal.

In 1960, Murrell Porter was appointed as City Marshal. He appointed four unpaid deputies, one of whom was Kenneth Hood, who would later become the Chief of Police in 1974.

DeSoto’s first Chief of Police, Richard Schwarz, was appointed in 1964. Soon after, the first radio based station was set up so officers could have a communication system. During the day, the ladies who worked at DeSoto City Hall dispatched calls, and at night, Deputy Hood and Deputy Roger Kerby dispatched calls.

In 1968, a police station “addition” was incorporated into the fire station. At that time, DeSoto was patrolled by a total of five officers.

1968-Current Police Chiefs
Since then, the City of DeSoto has appointed thirteen Police Chiefs including:

Pete Sims

Malcom Sutherland

Dwight “Boots” Price

Paul Johnson
Buster Adams

Cletus Dyer

Steve McFadden

Kenneth Hood
Joe O’Briant (Public Safety Director)

Bob Hayes

J.D. Horvath

William M. Brodnax

Joseph W. Costa

The DeSoto Police Department moved into its current 28,000 sq. ft. facility in May, 2000, and currently employs 70 authorized sworn police officers and approximately 36 support personnel.

The various divisions within the police department include Patrol, Criminal Investigations, Tactical and Hostage Negotiations, Crime Prevention, School Resource, Warrants, Traffic, Special Investigations, Internal Affairs, Training, Recruiting, Administration and Records.

The DeSoto Police Department also has a large number of volunteers, which include Reserve Officers, Citizens on Patrol and Police Chaplains.

In 2012 Joseph W. Costa was hired as DeSoto Chief of Police. Chief Costa retired from the Massachusetts State Police with 25 years of service, and was employed by the Dallas County Sheriff Department from 2005-2012. He holds a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice from Boston University and a Master Peace Officer License.