Chief Peter Walker retires after 30-year career; Deirdre Smith appointed first female Chief of Detectives for Rockland County

On Thursday, February 29, Rockland County employees gathered at the County Courthouse bridge to honor Chief of Detectives Peter Walker, who retired after a 30 year career in law enforcement. His successor, Deirdre Smith, was sworn in as Chief of Detectives for the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office on Friday, March 1, making her the first female officer to serve in the position.

Chief Walker started his career with the NYPD in 1994, patrolling the streets of the Bronx while assigned to the 48th Precinct. In December of 1999, Chief Walker was hired as a patrol officer with the Clarkstown Police Department. He was selected to become the department’s Public Information Officer, building an incredibly strong bond between the community and the police department.

In May of 2018, Walker was promoted to Detective. During his tenure with the Clarkstown Police Department he served as a member of the Critical Incident Response Team as a police sniper, field training officer, department’s budget assessment team, and Supervisor of the department’s Records Department. Walker was also an active member of the Clarkstown PBA.

Chief Walker retired from the Clarkstown Police Department in January of 2020 when he was appointed as the Chief of Detectives for the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office. In this position, he oversaw approximately 30 investigators and support staff and acted as the liaison to all outside police agencies to ensure the District Attorney’s Office works effectively and efficiently with its partners.Under his leadership, investigators underwent specialized training to identify predators using the internet to target innocent children. During Chief Walker’s tenure, multiple individuals have been arrested for trying to meet minors in Rockland for sex and disseminating child pornography.

Chief Walker also served honorably in the United States Navy for 26 years, retiring as a Chief Petty Officer.

Speakers during the walkout ceremony for Chief Walker included District Attorney Thomas Walsh, Chief Assistant Attorney Patrick Frawley, Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann,and retired Clarkstown Police Chief Ray McCullagh, as well as Chief Walker himself.

“I consider Pete Walker a friend,” said Supervisor George Hoehmann at the retirement walkout. “I’ve gotten to know him throughout the years. He’s been a go-to, sage counselor for so many of us…I have nothing but pride and admiration for the job that Pete has done in law enforcement. He’s what people should aspire to. He’s a selfless servant, (someone who) will give you the shirt off his back. I wish him all the best in retirement and he absolutely will be missed. He’s had an enormous impact on the people of Clarkstown and on the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office.”

When RCT asked Chief Walker after the ceremony how it felt to reach the stage of retirement, he smiled.

“It feels great,” Chief Walker said. “I’m blessed to have been surrounded by great people in law enforcement. Rockland County has some of the finest officers ever. In the DA’s office we have both the investigators and the lawyers. But it’s been fantastic. I couldn’t ask for a better ending of my career.”

Newly appointed Chief Smith is a graduate of Manhattan College. She started her law enforcement career in 1993 with the NYPD and spent 5 years with the department before joining the Suffern Police Department.

She served for 22 years with the Suffern PD, retiring at the rank of Sergeant. Chief Smith was the first female supervisor in the department’s history. During her career with Suffern PD, she received the prestigious Medal of Honor Award for Valor from the Rockland County PBA.

Chief Smith comes from a family that has a long history in law enforcement. Her father is a retired Inspector from the NYPD and sister has served with the FBI for 25 years.

In 2020, Chief Smith retired from the Suffern PD and joined the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office where she served as the first female Confidential Investigator to the District Attorney in Rockland County DA history. She has worked on many high profile cases during her time with the Office.

Chief Walker at walkout ceremony.
Chief Smith being sworn into office.

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