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.