Norfolk Constabulary was granted the honorary freedom of Norwich at a ceremony on Friday night.
Councillors voted to confer the honour in recognition of the force's "historic ties with Norwich and to mark their continuing contribution to the city".
The title has been awarded fewer than 40 times since 1887.
Chief Constable Ian McPherson said the force and the city had an "unbreakable bond" and the lion of Norwich was worn by all officers on their uniforms.
Mr McPherson said: "Policing in Norfolk is woven into the very fabric of Norwich life and it has been so since 1836 - a proud heritage depicting devotion and loyalty to public service where the community comes first."
Council leader Steve Morphew, who proposed the motion, said: "Over time the relationships between the city council and our police have become much closer.
"It is fitting we recognise the past, present and changing future for the relationship between the police and the city by honouring those who serve us so well."