Winchester is the oldest city in the Blue Ridge Mountains. In 1716, Virginia’s governor led a band of explorers across the mountains at Swift Run Gap. Colonel James Wood founded Winchester as a town in 1744. In 1755, as a colonel commanding the Virginia Militia in Winchester, George Washington was given the task of defending the western Virginia frontier. In 1788, Virginia became the tenth state admitted into the Union. In 1822, the City of Winchester Police Department was first created. It consisted of one officer, known as the Town Sergeant. During the Civil War, Winchester changed hands between the Confederate and Union armies more than 70 times.
The City of Winchester is home to approximately 26,000 residents. During the working day that number grows to more than 70,000. Each spring Winchester is host to the Apple Blossom Festival, in which the population of the city swells to 500,000. The Police Department is comprised of 74 full-time officers. The Department is a leader in the community policing philosophy and is dedicated to professional public service.
The shoulder patch worn by officers is a combination of historic symbols. In the upper left corner is the British Union Jack. This flag was flown over all of the English settlements in the New World and it was flown until the Revolutionary War. In the upper right corner of the patch is the State Seal of Virginia. It represents Virginia (the standing woman) conquering the tyrannical British (the man lying down is holding a whip and a chain). In the lower left corner of the patch is the Confederate Square, also known as the Southern Cross. This is also known as the Confederate Flag and was displayed by the southern troops during the Civil War. In the lower right of the patch, with red and white stripes and a blue background with white stars, is the flag of the United States of America that was displayed by the federal troops during the Civil War. The American Indian is depicted to honor their heritage as the first settlers of this area.