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.

ED HICKEY December 12, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Well, Y, you definately made me raise an eyebrow with commentary that I can honestly say that I have never heard anyone state as describing Lt. Johansen. A tyrant? Anyone who has had an opportunity to interact with Eric, already would discount that description as pure slander because it just isn't nor, wasn't ever, anything close to his demeanor. I'd also like to factually state that the online degree obtained is from a well respected and accredited university and many professionals have opted to further their education via online access. Regarding your alleged "fact" that the Lt. completed his studies for the most part while "on the clock" is also very difficult to believe, but I have no factual data to state whether your claim is true or not. Lastly, I personally know officers who, without hesitation, speak very highly of their time working with or under the direction of Lt. Johansen, so again, your commentary appears to be leaning more toward unsolicited slander vs. fact. Lastly, agreed, Eric should consider not billing the city for the occasional council meeting, but this fact, if is so, hardly discredits Lt. Johansen's genuine love for Peekskill.
Rasheed Oluwa (Editor) December 12, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Please stay on topic in this thread. Posts that are made naming people of criminal wrongdoing without evidence, past convictions or criminal charges will be removed.
YDoMeDirty December 12, 2012 at 04:54 PM
ED HICKEY, Well if somebody was seriously to look into my statement all they will have to do is to get his I.P address to see where ALL his school work was done from. All my statements are all true. at least you see that billing counsil meeting are not something somebody who is seeking Chiefs position should do....
ED HICKEY December 12, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Thank you Rasheed; there is alot of great commentary shared on topic. Objective and respectful dialog...
leesther brown December 12, 2012 at 06:03 PM
@YDoMeDirty if what you say is true then why not use your real name? I know who you are by the way!...how about I put out there all the dirt you have done,there's plenty on the force who ain't feeling you either...#sarge
leesther brown December 12, 2012 at 06:39 PM
@White Rice,just because the council passes a resolution that you must swap spit with them to work in the City don't make it legal..What the Mayor and Council are doing is illegal period.....
White Rice December 12, 2012 at 07:46 PM
I'm not sure of the law, so I won't speak about something that I'm not sure of. However, I do know that there are many surrounding municipalities that have residency requirements. This isn't something unique to Peekskill. What's more interesting is that prior to Tumolo, there was a residency requirement for the Chief, and that was lifted specifically for him. The Council merely reinstated this requirement. I don't see a problem with it, really. While the person on topic lives close enough, I'd like to think when there's a murder like we had on Thanksgiving, that our Chief of Police could be there at a moments notice. Not after receiving the phone call, stopping what they were doing at home, and then traveling 30 minutes. It's important to have city officials live locally. But really, I don't think the residency is the problem here. Instead, this is about a man that was promised many years ago that he would be Chief as a favor and Tumolo was going to do everything necessary to make that happen. With all of the madness going on with layoffs, etc, it would seem to me that these employees that are looking to be recognized should be focusing on doing really well at their job so they can get what is deserved to them. If Eric would stop acting entitled, the Council might have an easier time making him Chief. Eric should be presenting new ideas, not the same tired ones that Gene has been recycling for years.
Ashley Elam December 12, 2012 at 08:01 PM
I don't agree with the new law at all. Peekskill is only so big and I can drive through five different school districts or towns in 15 mins. I understand they want someone close but to pigeonhole them to just one town isn't right. They need to revise the amendment to within a amount distance from Peekskill. Say no further than Ossining or Garrison/Cold Springs.
leesther brown December 12, 2012 at 08:10 PM
@White Rice I ain't going back and forth with you..The fact is we supposedly have a Commissioner Of Public Safety aka City Manger according to the Charter this ain't the Mayor or Council's call...As far as the layoffs there's an article 78 or a discrimination claim on the horizon that will be up to those that are being let go...name the municipalities that have the residency policy in place..as you know we are living in an age where folks target families of the high ranking,should we place these folks in danger?..No this is something else..#personal...being zoo keeper ain't in the job description so why shouldn't he get paid?!! Mary left the gate open let her hire security then..
Willie Bobo December 12, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Eric est un agent pour tout le monde. Zut alors! Le singe aime M. Johansen pour la tete du department. Il s'appele Eric le Gendarme! - - YDoMeMonkey
Frank a Catalina December 12, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Frank a Catalina December 12, 2012 at 10:00 PM
i dont know who else took the chief's test or who is on "the list". but the personal attacks on eric (or anybody for that matter) are not necessary. the bottom line is the residency law itself. we are not NYC and i know the mayor has only been in office for....what...5+ years but IF residency was really important, why was it never addressed till now? Tumolo would have been 'grandfathered' anyway so without a clear answer on why now, motivation must be questioned. and why ignore the LAW regarding the city manager? Good luck getting an answer!
Goodoleboys December 12, 2012 at 10:33 PM
This will all come to an end in two weeks time the " good ol boys club in HR " will be gone and the city can start to rebuild itself on hard work and honesty not who you are related to. This house should have been cleaned a long time ago.
Frank a Catalina December 13, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Hey white rice. What I'm saying is that the city charter is the LAW it sets forth mandatory qualifications for a City Manager. Our current CM dies not meet these legal requirements so the city, a 50 million dollar corporation is without a leader with the minimum qualifications. Would you go to a hospital and be operated on by a doctor who was still in high school? Would you if the admitting office told you it's okay, he's our "acting" Dr.? Do you think a qualified city manager would have been able to recognize the perfect "Financial" storm that these actors have lead us into? While we ignore the law, it's like we are ignoring the high school "doctor" and debating whether his head nurse should reside in the city!! Yes, residency is an important issue but this "ship" is listing badly with substantial issues unresolved. All I'm saying is that if residency was so important why he hasn't been addressed before now.
Frank a Catalina December 13, 2012 at 02:09 AM
And don't take your eye off the 24 lost employees or positions; the outrageous tax increases over the past few years; and administrating purging long time employees; wasting literally millions of diollars on "experts", consultants, lawyers, patronage and so bent on covering their own backsides they even have resorted to filing lawsuits against their own city planning board!! One has to scratch their head and say "what the heck is going on here?". At some point we need to say enough! Thank you for your service, we know you tried your hardest, but we simply deserve better.
White Rice December 13, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Leesther? where did you go girlfriend? are you so Team Eric that you're incapable of answering these questions because you know he's dead wrong? Are you suddenly having trouble backing someone who is just as shady as the rest of the folks that you call out all day long? And where did RK go?
leesther brown December 13, 2012 at 04:34 AM
@White Rice..contrary to popular belief I do have some semblance of a life so every now and then I do leave the "Bat Cave" :)...I'm reading your post..lol are you serious right now?!! "Of course the public is only going to see Eric kissing babies and shaking hands with local republicans. It's a facade. The Johansen's are good friends with the Vesce's. The same Vesce's that put several family members into City Hall to make sure things get run the way that Vinnie wanted."..#stepawayfromthecurb....He helped re-write the Charter?..#gtfoh..Look here "I ain't team nobody, I have no problem calling a "Spade a Spade"..I don't call out folks evilness because I'm a Saint...I ain't!..read the BS you putting out here..Like I said Mary can not make the "Personnel" changes she's making according to the Charter,and according to her the City Manger in place is real(not according to the charter) you on here throwing mud..none of it sticking,you can tell me about folks that knew,and folks that know I'm telling you what so...it's "Personal"...Now when you get up the courage to come forward in the flesh....Holla at a sister..I got something to show you....#iain'tyourgirlfriend..
leesther brown December 13, 2012 at 05:14 AM
Oh and White Rice they(Mayor and Council) demoted the Captain...#messy...
George in NY December 13, 2012 at 01:27 PM
The question concerns the subject of residency requirement for an appointed position. One of the major problems with this City's operation is truly evidenced in these posts. Inflicting personality, a natural part of human nature, into a discussion of a simple concept. The original comment point was residency requirements. Not whom kisses babies, is married to whom. Some would obviously like to impart the fact that they are intimately involved with the personalities of the Police Department. Those that do refer to individuals by first names and hint at some secret knowledge seldom are truly very knowledgeable of much of anything. The question remains should the City of Peekskill have a limiting residency requirement for this or any appointed position. My opinion is yes, however that the requirement of living within City limits proper is far too limiting in it's nature simply based on size of the City. Limiting to adjoining municipalities would better serve the City no matter who the actual candidates are. The Police Department must remain above politics for it to perform properly under the laws which govern it. Not easy to do certainly.
inspector December 13, 2012 at 02:23 PM
the whole police chief thing seems fishy. the chief is retiring and all of a sudden there is a residency law put in place for the new guy. this is insane. Even with this new residency thing the guy live 5 minutes away. that have to count for something. what happened was that this administration didn't want this guy to be lieutenant and now they don't want him to be chief. they have there own person they want. also I have rode by city hall quite a bit for the last couple of weeks and have seen DPW workers sanding and painting railings. Weren't people complaining that there wasn't enough people in DPW to lay off? Why isn't the building and maintenance doing this job? This is their job right? We need our DPW crew out in the streets.
White Rice December 13, 2012 at 03:12 PM
@George, you are right, this is an article about residency. But it's also about a man that is confident in becoming the next Chief of Police, when a proper search hasn't been done. When people come on to the Patch and use names and site things that maybe you aren't aware of, it's being done in hopes to educate the people around that everything isn't what it seems. Instead of arguing that a residency law should or shouldn't be in place, Eric should be focusing on doing the best job he can possibly do for ALL of us, not just himself. The article clearly states that an exception can be made for the right person. IF Eric is that person, then none of these comments are relevant, and the best man for the job will prevail. However, if he is indeed earning degrees while at work, and he's charging the city time for attending meetings...that is something that should be taken into consideration. It's in poor taste to be management and to receive a salary like he does and to think that attending late night meetings isn't part of the gig. I'd be interested in knowing if any other members of management get overtime for those meetings or if this is something that only Eric does. You are absolutely right, the Police Dept must remain above politics, unfortunately this isn't something that Eric has displayed for himself. He's buried deep into local politics. That isn't to be debated. It's simply the truth.
White Rice December 13, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Inspector, we already know what team you are on. This isn't the place to talk about your DPW complaints. Take that to your friends on the 2nd floor.
White Rice December 13, 2012 at 04:44 PM
@Lee- why is what i'm writing "b.s"? I'm beginning to think that you and Eric have a little side business of protecting each other. It cannot be disputed that Eric is embroiled with the Republicans. But regardless of whose political hand he holds, the rest of what I am saying is what needs to be looked into. I can't possibly be the only person that has an issue with a husband and wife running a department. Ask his co-workers...they hate him. Ed Hickey claims that his knows officers that will stand up for Eric...they stand up for him in public because trashing your superior is highly frowned upon and they all know how calculated Eric is. Who wants to spend a life of midnights just because they openly spoke out against their boss? Better yet, why hasn't anyone addressed why this man hasn't ever worked the shift that he signed up for? You say that the Council demoted the Captain...ok..if that's true, why isn't the Captain speaking up and saying "I'm next in line for Chief"? He's just sitting back and letting Eric take control when he's obviously the next in line? If the Council did demote him as you say, maybe it's because he hasn't shown an interest in stepping up. We need LEADERS. Not more desk desk officers. The Patch always has people commenting on the Police Dept failing, so why would we keep the same old tired regime when we could possibly see some change from someone NEW? Let Eric show us some results before we blindly give him a new title.
leesther brown December 13, 2012 at 05:25 PM
@White Rice first off you don't get the right to call me Lee...and now you're on here accusing me of what?....just what would I need Eric to protect me from?....#jesusismyfence... I read on another thread what another coward."SaYIt aIn'T So" #thatbeyoutoo...put out there,and you or him/her will eat those words....Stop drinking the Mayor's bath water..#yourbreathestinks
inspector December 13, 2012 at 05:37 PM
hey rice, i am on the team of truth. Obviously you have been shunned or given false promises so you are on a rampage. Be true to yourself and stop the BS. Whether its the PD or DPW it doesn't matter it's all about Peekskill and jobs. and FYI i am not a part of the job force but closer to you then you think.
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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