Pete Tyler, right, will retire as chief of police on May 31 after serving in the police force for 28 years.

Jason Ben Nathan / Sun Senior Photographer

Pete Tyler, right, will retire as chief of police on May 31 after serving in the police force for 28 years.

April 18, 2019

Ithaca Police Chief to Retire After 27 Years of Service

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After nearly 28 years of service, Ithaca Police Chief Pete Tyler will retire from his post on May 31 after spending just two years as the City’s top cop.

Tyler served two of his 28 years on the police force as chief, replacing Chief John Barber upon Barber’s retirement in 2017. The Ithaca-Cayuga chapter of the Kiwanis Club — an international service club — presented Tyler with an award commending him for his dedication to protecting the Ithaca area on Monday.

Watching Tyler’s “leadership after the retirement of Chief Barber through several high profile and challenging incidents,” Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 became “convinced he is the right person for the job,” he said before Tyler was elevated to the department’s top post.

A native Ithacan, Tyler made headlines in 2017 when he became the first black police chief in Ithaca’s history. One of his main missions as chief, he told The Ithaca Voice, was to “work to serve the public and would prioritize training officers to use non-lethal defensive tactics to deescalate dangerous situations.”

Tyler also entered the position aiming to tackle the opioid epidemic that has hit much of upstate New York particularly hard in recent years. Tompkins County registered nearly 20 overdose deaths in 2018 — up from just 8 in 2013, according to a government report.

“Heroin is a huge problem in our city,” Tyler previously told The Sun. “That’s not going away.”

The club chooses an honoree every month who exemplifies compassion and commitment to public service. Recently, the award went to another retiree — Cornell University Police Department’s Chief Kathy Zoner, who left earlier this year after a 28-year career in law enforcement to join a safety consulting firm.

Officers from the New York State Police, the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office, Cornell University Police, Ithaca College and others were present for the award ceremony.

“Today is about thanking you for giving me an opportunity as somebody who had no aspirations when I started this job to so much as even be a supervisor, let alone the chief of police. But I’m very proud of it. I’m proud of the people I’ve met along the way,” Tyler said at his acceptance, according to the Ithaca Voice.

Tyler’s successor has yet to be publicly announced by the department.