Decision On Peekskill Police Chief Rests With Council

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The city's Common Council has yet to decide who the next Peekskill police chief will be. Photo Credit: Art Cusano

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. — After Peekskill Police Chief Eugene Tumolo retires Jan. 2 after 44 years on the force, the department will be led by someone else.

However, the city's Common Council has yet to decide who that person will be. But the council has named Lt. Eric Johansen, 42, as the interim chief.

"I have suggested that he be my replacement," Tumolo said.

Two members of the Peekskill Police Department are on the civil service list to take the chief exam necessary to be considered for the position: Joahansen and Capt. Paul Astrologo. Only those ranked lieutenant or higher can take the exam.

"Astrologo is a stalwart of this department, and he could certainly step into my shoes. ... It's just that Eric is a younger man, and you have to have stamina because this can be  a grueling job that requires a great deal of commitment and energy," Tumolo said.

The decision will be affected by a new residency requirement passed Monday by the Common Council that requires the chief to live in Peekskill. Neither candidate is a city resident.

"Come January, the council will need to make a decision whether we appoint him (Johansen) or someone else from the department as the police chief, and the residency requirement is important," Mayor Mary Foster said Monday. "We believe very strongly in that."

It would be unusual for someone to be brought in from outside for a department the size of Peekskill's, Tumolo said.

"Most chiefs are picked from within the ranks, for a number of reasons," he said. "They are familiar with the community, and they've cut their teeth in that community and they're familiar with all aspects of the job."

Should Johansen be promoted to chief, his position would not be filled, Tumolo said. However, Eric Johansen's wife, Lt. Cathy Johansen, is also retiring and that position would eventually be filled.

The department lost an officer last month when 29-year-old Julian Hermosillo died in a car accident upstate. The department is expected to add a graduate of the Westchester police academy in the coming weeks. No other personnel changes are planned, according to Tumolo.

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