Dover area detective Peters wins national VA award

WILMINGTON — He served his country for six years active duty in the Air Force, including Afghanistan and Kuwait deployments.

Then Magnolia resident Chris Peters spent four years in the reserve, stationed at Dover Air Force Base handling aircraft maintenance.

Now he’s a 2018 national police officer of the year as awarded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The Wilmington-based detective earned the honor along with two others co-workers, among more than 4,000 police officers nationwide.

“After my military time I still wanted to serve other vets,” Det. Peters explained. “I feel proud to do that and to get recognition for helping them is very satisfying.”

Chris Peters

Det. Peters works in the Wilmington VA Medical Center and its five outpatient clinics.

“In time of need we may be the first to provide medical assistance, direct them where to go or otherwise provide guidance to get them to the right place,” he said.

According to Wilmington VA Medical Center Associate Director of Operations Kim Butler, “There are more than 4,000 VA police officers nationwide, so having three of our own chosen at a national level is a huge honor.”

The honorees were recognized at a banquet in Little Rock, Arkansas on May 21.

“All of our officers work hard every day to make this a safe place for our veterans, employees and guests,” Ms. Butler said. “I’m proud to have the efforts of three of our officers recognized at such a high level.”

Echoing the praise, Wilmington VA Police Service Chief Jeffrey Steidler said, “Detective Peters is a truly community-minded servant.

“He is a dedicated volunteer firefighter in the Dover area, and he still performs his job at an outstanding level every day. Chris displays a level of dedication that inspires a service mindset to all who work with him on a daily basis.”

‘Best I can’

A year-end performance evaluation submitted to his superiors spurred the nomination. Simply put, “My goal is to do the best I can for veterans and make sure our staff can do the same,” Det. Peters said.

The work accomplishments, among others, included 500 initial and followup reports, processing more than 50 pieces of evidence and training three new officers and two dispatchers.

Det. Peters organized his VA team for the most recent 32nd annual Law Enforcement Torch Run to raise money for Delaware Special Olympics. Representing Wilmington at the state’s Military & Veterans Mental Health Summit was another notable contribution.

There’s also time to spend as a volunteer firefighter in the Dover and Magnolia companies. Inspired by a local Hershey, Pennsylvania fire company sponsoring his Cub Scouts sponsorship pack, “I wanted to give back somehow.”

By age 14, Det. Peters was a firefighter and EMS certified two years later. Eventually he became a fire department lieutenant and ambulance chief.

Dover has a special place in his heart.

“It’s amazing to be part of the only state capital that has an all-volunteer company,” he said. “Once you get it in your blood it doesn’t leave.”

Oh, and his 2-year-old son continues to grow on him as the years pass too quickly.

“Right now my time away is spent with him and my wife,” he said. “We’re so blessed to have him.”

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