Eric Johansen said he’s always dreamed of running his own police department.
So it was no surprise to see him smiling during Friday’s press conference announcing him as the new Peekskill police chief.
“I’m just very happy for my husband,” Cathy Johansen said of Friday’s announcement. “He’s worked very hard for this and I’m thrilled to see it come to fruition.”
As far Johansen’s position as chief at home?
“We let him think certain things in life,” Cathy Johansen said.
Johansen has been serving as the department’s interim chief since January, following the retirement of Eugene Tumolo.
He has served on the police department for 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.
He served as lieutenant prior to his appointment as acting chief.
“I’d like to thank the mayor and the council for having the confidence to lead this department,” Johansen said. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for me and a tremendous responsibility and I’m just humbled by the amount of support that I have gotten from the city officials and from my friends and my family in the community of Peekskill.”
Said Mayor Mary Foster called Friday a special day for the city. She said the decision to name new chief wasn’t taken lightly.
Foster said the city officials were looking for an individual who would be accessible to the community and was committed to adopting modern law enforcement techniques.
“We received a number of letters from city residents, from business owners, from the Westchester County District Attorney’s office and a number of others stating how much they were impressed with Eric’s professionalism, his kindness and helpfulness in reaching out to groups throughout the Peekskill community,” Foster said.
Donald Lee Singer, a local attorney and the Greenburgh former police chief, said he’s known Johansen for more than 20 years. He wasn’t surprised by Johansen’s appointment as chief.
“He’s an extremely intelligent person and he’s an extremely caring person and he interacts with the community,” Singer said. “I don’t care who you talk to, everyone as nice things to say about him.”
Eric and Cathy Johansen have three children. Cathy Johansen, served as a lieutenant in the police department, but took the early incentive retirement package offered by the city last year. Their daughter, was recently hired as an officer by the Rye police department.