On July 1, 1882, when the citizens saw a need for better legal protection, C.C. Gresham was elected the first town Marshal and the town of Bartow was incorporated. The Bartow Police Department has evolved over 130 years from a one man, 15-hour-a-day department into a modern agency with a staff of 41 sworn and 23 non-sworn personnel who provide Law Enforcement services to the citizens of Bartow.
The Bartow Fire Department consists of 20 personnel who have received extensive firefighting, rescue and emergency medical training. The fire department is responsible for 90 sq. miles. Response time within the city is five minutes, nine minutes outside the city. The Department also works with the County’s Fire Services answering fire rescue calls in the unincorporated areas of the County.
The County’s 911 system answers all emergency phone calls from its centers throughout Polk County and immediately forwards the calls to the appropriate agency.