Born in Oklahoma, Dillard O. Wilkirson moved to Anaheim in 1930. He attended Anaheim High School and Orange Coast College. He then joined the Anaheim Police Department in early 1940, serving five years and achieving the rank of Lieutenant. Prior to joining the Marshal’s Office, Marshal Wilkirson operated his own restaurant and meat business in Orange County.

Marshal Dillard O. Wilkirson began his career in the North Orange County Judicial District in 1957, rising through the ranks until his appointment to North Orange County Marshal in January, 1966 following the retirement of Marshal Haskell A. Kelly. Marshal Wilkirson assumed office with a staff of 45 employees. In June, 1966, Marshal Wilkirson was elected to a six-year term.

Marshal Wilkirson took office in December 1970 as the Marshal of Orange County, becoming the first Marshal to hold the new position of Marshal in the consolidated Marshals Office of Orange County. The consolidation of the offices reportedly saved the taxpayers nearly $500,000 the first year. He located the Marshal’s Department offices in the space occupied by the Central Marshal’s Office. The former local Marshals were given key positions within the organization such as Inspector or Assistant Marshal, and were given responsibility for areas encompassing several judicial districts.