Law Requires Police Chief to Live in Peekskill

The amendment to the city's charter affects police Lt. Eric Johansen, who currently lives in Cortlandt and will serve as interim chief in place of the retiring Eugene Tumolo while officials decide on a permanent replacement.


Peekskill officials have amended the city’s charter to require that the chief of police to be a resident of the city as well.

The Common Council approved the amendment during Monday’s meeting. The amended law now reads: “City residency shall not be required as  a qualification for the office of any appointed official of the city other than the City Manager, Assistant City Manager, Chief of Police and the City Clerk. 

According to the law, the police chief will be required to find a permanent place of residence in the city within 180 days of being hired. The Common Council may grant a waiver to this requirement with a supermajority vote. 

The amendment comes at a time when current police Chief Eugene Tumolo is expected to retire from the force. Lt. Eric Johansen, 42, who is expected to fill in as interim chief on Jan. 2. Johansen currently resides in the neighboring Town of Cortlandt.

“I will absolutely abide by all the laws and regulations set forth by the council,” said Johansen, a Peekskill native. “I expect that based on my education, experience and performance that I will be named the permanent chief.”

Johansen is married with three children. His wife, Cathy, is currently a lieutenant in the police department, but  took the early incentive retirement package offered by the city earlier this year.

He has served on the police department for about 19 years, joining the force in February 1994 after serving a stint as volunteer firefighter for the city. In 2007, he earned a masters in justice administration from Norwich University in Vermont. 

Johansen said he understood the Common Council’s decision and their desire to have chief who has a high presence and visibility in the city.    

“I love the City of Peekskill and I spend a good amount of time in the city,” Johansen said. “Peekskill has a tremendous amount of activities to offer my family and I take advantage of that.”

Johansen said city officials have told him that they plan to take their due diligence when they conduct their search for a new police chief.

“I’m confident that if they look at my record, education and dedication to the citizens of Peekskill, that I will be named permanently,” Johansen said. 

PDFs of the amendment to the local law amendment and the resolution approving the amendment are attached to this story.

White Rice December 13, 2012 at 05:49 PM
@Inspector, if you're on the team of truth like you say, that you'd know exactly what I'm talking about. Let's not get off topic here, this is about Eric becoming Police Chief and whether or not residency is important. If you aren't on the job force, I can't understand why you'd care so much about who is doing what job...DPW or Building Maintenance. It sounds like you sir are the one on the rampage. Go back to your old posts, you're clearly defending specific employees. The same employees that hold Eric's hand. @ Leesther, I apologize for calling you Lee, I didn't think that would bother you. I'm not accusing you of anything, I'm merely wondering why you are so quick to defend Eric. Can someone please just answer some of my questions? Why hasn't he ever worked his appropriate shift? Why is it ok for a husband and wife to run a department? Would anyone be willing to question rank and file to see if they support him becoming Chief? Does the PBA stand behind Eric? Was the residency requirement truly lifted for Tumolo and simply reinstated all this time later? Did Tumolo promise George many years ago that he would make Eric Chief? Is it ok for husband and wife to take the same vacations leaving the department with no lieutenant? Is it ok for Eric to put in for overtime to attend Council meetings? I think these are all questions that can be answered honestly. RK should be able to answer some of these. RK, would you like to join back in the conversation?
leesther brown December 13, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Oh yes I agree on one thing...I too want to see some changes regarding Quality of Life issues in this City..but there's a problem... the officers from what you say hate him,are they going to do as directed and make "Clean" arrest?!!!..seems to me he(Eric) may need to wear an armour,because you have made some "FRIGHTFUL...SPITEFUL" comments so I'll make you a promise...The minute I feel a exceptionally low sense of "Controlling and Patrolling" I will be the first to scream for the whole damn house(Station) to be disbanded and for the administration to seek County/State oversight.....#you'reheadedforselfdestruction..
leesther brown December 15, 2012 at 06:20 AM
Hey Donnie Boy you want to know who's talking to me?!!!!....Holla ...#iknowwhoyourrealdaddyis.......
peekskillman December 22, 2012 at 10:12 PM
OK let me understand this, a well qualified candidate, who was born and raised in the City and has served the City well, could potentially be excluded from the Chief position because he lives a mile or so out of town?? Following this logic,then all other dept heads should also live in the City. Those that dont: fire chief, Cortland; assessor, out of the City-water dept head, Dutchess Cty. No DPW head yet , but hopefully this will be filled soon. Should these individuals be made to relocate? If so then, start at the beginning of the year for all. What is good for goose is good for gander
ED HICKEY December 26, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Blatant roadblock posed as an alleged timing coincidence which reflects the Mayor's disapproval of a very qualified and eager candidate, solely due to the same political madness that is burying the city; Lt. Johansen's family happens to be well aquainted with GOP families! So punish this individual man with individual thoughts for this archaic battle between political dinasaurs! So tired of hearing and watching the same ol' same ol' between the same ol' same ol'! Eric, on the other hand, has remained poised, composed, and focussed on doing his job even in light of the ongoing slander to fit others' agendas; but to answer Peekskillman's very legitimate question above ... yes, apparently for the sake of a few miles outside the borders of Peekskill, the Mayor and council are willing (hoping) that our police department misses out on this very qualified individual. Even more impressive is that Lt. Johansen has calmly stated that if the residency requirement remains a necessity for him to transition from acting COP to fulltime COP, he is willing to relocate.


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