The Sheriff of Nansemond County was in charge of policing Suffolk, as well as Nansemond County, until 1858. In 1858, Suffolk was granted a charter, and the first town sergeant was elected. After 1910, the town sergeant came to be called the Chief of Police.
The Sheriff would still be in charge of Nansemond County law enforcement
until October 1970 when the Nansemond County Police Department was
founded. The City of Suffolk Police Department and the Nansemond County
Police Department merged in January 1974. The Sheriff and the town
sergeant were both elected officers at that time.