David Joseph Buckley, who settled in East Hampton after serving in the Air Force first at the Montauk station in 1948 and then in the Korean War from 1950 to 1952, died in Boynton Beach, Fla., on Friday. He died suddenly after having heart and other health problems over the past 10 years. He was 85.
Mr. Buckley had a long career in law enforcement in East Hampton and on Long Island, starting as a patrolman with the East Hampton Town Police Department in 1954. In 1960 he was asked to join the newly formed Suffolk County Police Department, where he worked as a detective and later with the District Attorney’s Squad, which promoted him to detective sergeant. After excelling on various exams and being promoted several times, he was named executive officer of the Suffolk County Police Academy and then deputy inspector in 1972.
In the mid-1970s, Chief Buckley led six different bureaus of the Suffolk County Police Department before being named chief of detectives and then, from 1975 to 1986, chief of headquarters. After retiring in 1986, he worked as a consultant to the Bureau of Municipal Police at the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, in which role he helped create law enforcement standards for professional practices throughout the state.
David Buckley, the oldest of his family’s six children, was born on March 31, 1931, in Newport, R.I., to Francis P. Buckley and the former Margaret Furey. One brother, William F. Buckley of Narragansett, R.I., survives. Mr. Buckley graduated from De La Salle Academy in Newport in 1948 and shortly after joined the Air Force, serving first at the Montauk Air Force Station. While there he met Elaine McGinnis, who had moved with her family to East Hampton after World War II. After he left the Air Force as a staff sergeant in 1952, he returned to East Hampton and in 1953 married Miss McGinnis, who survives.
After that, Mr. Buckley earned a B.A. in criminal justice at the C.W. Post College campus of Long Island University and also graduated from the 59th Session of the F.B.I. National Academy in Washington, D.C., in 1957.
Chief Buckley earned two distinguished-alumni awards from C.W. Post, one from the School of Health and Public Service and the other from the Department of Criminal Justice. He was a past president of the Metropolitan Chapter and New York State Chapter of the F.B.I. National Academy Associates as well as a past president of the Suffolk County Police Chiefs Association and its board of directors. He was a former member of the board of education at Most Holy Trinity School in East Hampton, the Criminal Justice Advisory Committee at C.W. Post, and the same committee at the New York Institute of Technology. He was also a past chairman of the Resolutions Committee of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, a former member of the East Hampton Village Design Review Board, and a volunteer at Meals on Wheels here in East Hampton.
After Chief Buckley retired, about 25 years ago, he and his wife began spending winters in Boynton Beach. He enjoyed playing golf and was a member of the South Fork Country Club, according to his daughter Kathleen Boak of New York City. He also read at least a book a week, she said, and loved spending time with his grandchildren. In addition to his widow, brother, and Ms. Boak, Chief Buckley is survived by his other daughters, Maureen Payne of Advance, N.C., Patricia Haggerty of Boca Raton, Fla., and Susan Scott of New Canaan, Conn. Mr. Buckley is also survived by 15 nieces and nephews and many great-nieces and great-nephews. His son, Lt. Christopher D. Buckley, a Navy Seahawk pilot and former East Hampton Town lifeguard, died in an accident at sea in 1997.
The family will receive visitors at the Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in East Hampton on Friday, March 17, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. On March 18 at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in East Hampton, Msgr. Donald Hanson will say a funeral Mass at 10:30 a.m. Chief Buckley was cremated and his ashes will be buried in the church cemetery.