Suffolk County's Fourth Police Precinct now has a new commanding officer.
Inspector James Rhoads, 65, led the precinct from February 2005 up until his retirement on Sept. 13. He had joined the department in 1972.
"He was a really dedicated, hardworking individual," said Chief of Patrol John Meehan. "He was respected by his peers."
Meehan said Rhoads walked out of the precinct accompanied by his family following an elaborate farewell.
"That date was important to him because it was 45 years from the day he left Vietnam," said Meehan of Rhoads, who served the airborne unit in the Army during that time. "It was his lucky day."
Meehan said Rhoads struggled with his departure. "He just loves the police department," he said.
Insp. William Murphy, 61, who was promoted from the rank of deputy inspector, replaces Rhoads. Murphy, who was promoted Sept. 16, was unavailable for comment.
Murphy, a 38-year veteran, was a deputy inspector at the Suffolk County police academy. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy and has an information technology background, Meehan said.
The Fourth Precinct patrols subdivisions of Smithtown and incorporated villages of the Branch, Islandia and Lake Grove. Included also are border areas of the towns of Huntington, Islip and Brookhaven.