If you’re looking for a Python function that works like Matlab’s “findpeaks” checkout SciPy argrelmax.
Note: since writing this I’ve come across a more detailed discussion of Python vs. Matlab vs. Octave with code.
Here is a comparative example between Python, Octave, and Matlab. The example does not demonstrate the need to filter the data in the case of highly noisy data, which may be accomplished with a Savitzky-Golay filter.