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Peters family honored for century of service to Schenectady Police Department

Peters family honored for century of service to Schenectady Police Department

Generations of Peters Family have served community
Peters family honored for century of service to Schenectady Police Department
The Schenectady City Council honors Captain Joseph A. Peters III (Ret.), Det. Eric J. Peters and Det. Joseph A. Peters.
Photographer: Pete DeMola/Daily Gazette

SCHENECTADY — Law enforcement officials, and at least one K-9, trekked to City Hall amid howling winds on Monday night to pay homage to a local family that has served the community for generations.

Members of the Peters family have been with the Schenectady Police Department since 1919, including two men as chiefs. 

Councilwoman Leesa Perazzo read a lengthy resolution from the City Council honoring the family, which can trace its lineage back to the Dutch settlers who came to the city in 1661. 

Joseph A. Peters joined the force in 1919 and retired 32 years later as chief.

His son, Joseph A. Peters II, began in 1939 and retired as chief in 1981 after never missing a shift for illness.

Peters II, who died in 2006, was a highly-regarded fingerprinting expert who served as director for the Bureau of Criminal Identification and as a consultant for the U.S. Secret Service, according to his obituary.

He also obtained international recognition for his strength and bodybuilding, setting national and world records, as well as racking up numerous awards.

“By the age of 24, Chief Peters had been named to the Who's Who in Weightlifting,” his obituary stated. “He tied for first place in the 1939 Mr. America Contest, won first place for the best developed chest in America and, from 1939-1944, maintained the world record for having the greatest differential between chest and waist measurement.”

His son, Joseph A. Peters III, joined the force in 1963 and retired as captain in 2003. 

The resolution highlighted his commitment to training new recruits and serving as a mentor for officers, which was important prior to the establishment of today’s modern-day field training program.

Peters III also served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. 

Both father and son attended the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy. 

Their legacy has continued into the present day.

Joseph A. Peters IV, a U.S. Army Ranger, currently serves as a detective with the department’s Special Investigative Unit.

His younger brother, Eric J. Peters, serves as a K-9 handler. He also enlisted with the U.S. Army National Guard, serving as a military police officer. 

Both joined the department in 1998, and participate in the department’s honor guard and special operations squad. 

Peters III said he was honored that the city recognized the family’s uninterrupted century of service. 

“It makes me feel very good,” Peters III said after the brief ceremony. “I’d do it all over again. I loved the job — it really means everything to me.”

In addition, four members of the Schenectady Police Department received promotions on Monday night: Kyle Willets, Nick Ottati and Scott Bobrowich were promoted to sergeant, and Paul Antonovich, to lieutenant. 

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