ITHACA, N.Y. — Ithaca Police Chief Pete Tyler was recognized Monday by the Kiwanis Club of Ithaca-Cayuga. With his retirement coming up at the end of May after nearly 28 years at the Ithaca Police Department, the club thanked Tyler for his service and presented him the Frank G. Hammer Officer of the Month Award.

Tyler has served as police chief for just over two years, taking over after Chief John Barber retired in 2017. He will officially retire May 31. Tyler first joined the department in 1991. In addition to working on the police force, he has also served as a volunteer firefighter and EMT with the Dryden Fire Department — work he plans to continue after retirement.

Related: Chief Pete Tyler will retire after 27 years at Ithaca Police Department

Every month, the Kiwanis Club of Ithaca-Cayuga honors a member of local enforcement or emergency responder with the Frank G. Hammer Officer of the Month Award. Sometimes the award goes to officers for a particular event, but with so many retirements in recent months, it has gone to people like Cornell Police Chief Kathy Zoner, New York State Police Sgt. Kelly Daly and former Trumansburg Police Chief Thomas Ferretti — recognizing them for their decades of service in the community.

The district attorney’s office always considers the nominations for officer of the month and this month, District Attorney Matthew Van Houten said, giving Tyler the award was an easy choice to make. “I’m grateful to have worked with you,” Van Houten told Tyler Monday at the award luncheon held at Kendal at Ithaca.

Ithaca Police Deputy Chief Dennis Nayor, who nominated Tyler, said 28 years is a long career in law enforcement, but said Tyler has consistently come to the job with energy and has kept the department ahead of the curve during changing times.

Nayor highlighted a recent situation Tyler came across while driving one afternoon. In January, Tyler was first on the scene to a head-on crash on Route 13, where he put his medical training to use. New York State Police credited Tyler’s quick action with saving the man’s life.

“That was just another part of his day and the next day he came in and it was business as usual. That in and of it itself I think would be worth recognition. Then when you couple that with 28 years of high-level policing at a caliber that’s not often seen, I think that’s why we’re here recognizing Chief Tyler.”

Former Chief John Barber was present Monday and congratulated Tyler for his service. There were also officers from New York State Police, the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office, Ithaca College, Cornell University Police and others.

Tyler thanked the officers he works with at the IPD and all the members of local law enforcement. “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.

There has been no official announcement yet about who will replace Tyler. Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick did not respond to an immediate request for comment on the search process Monday afternoon.

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.