Pinecrest said goodbye to its retiring police chief and three other ranking department officials on March 1 with a gala retirement party and dinner at Pinecrest Gardens.
At the same time, outgoing police chief John Hohensee named veteran police officer Pete Skumanich to the new position of deputy police chief, the second in command in the Pinecrest Police Department. Skumanich will serve as interim chief when Hohensee officially departs on April 6 and hold that position until a new head of the department is appointed and assumes command.
During the retirement ceremony, Hohensee also promoted two officers to the new post of lieutenants in the department. Jason Cohen was named support services lieutenant and Derek Bowman was appointed administrative lieutenant. Both will serve alongside operations lieutenant Sam Ceballos.
Hohensee also awarded retirement badges and commendations to three veteran officers, including Commander Mike Liotti, who was one of the first police officers hired for the Pinecrest police force. Also receiving retirement badges and commendations were Lt. Willie Hill and Sgt. Debbie Simpson, both stepping down because of debilitating medical issues.
Hohensee reminisced about his 12-and-ahalf years with the Pinecrest Police Department and noted that he was proud of his work and with the progress made in building a quality law enforcement agency.
“When I arrived in 1999, we were still working out of rented facilities that were woefully inadequate,” said Hohensee. “So the design and move into the state-of-the-art facility we have today is one of many highlights of my tenure. The improvement in both the number of sworn personnel and the caliber of the people we were hiring increased dramatically, and our relationship with the community improved significantly during that period.
“And, of course, our achievement of accreditation, both international and state, and the crowning jewel of accreditation, our designation as the flagship agency the last time we were reaccredited, is another highlight.”
Hohensee, who plans to move to North Florida with his wife and then travel the United States in the first years of his retirement, visiting all of the national parks, said his time in Pinecrest was the high point of his career.
“I’ve been in law enforcement for 42- and-a-half years and I’ve had a marvelous career,” he said. “I’ve had the good fortune to spend the last 12-and-a-half years as the chief of this department. I’ve had wonderful support from our Village officials, both elected and appointed, and the support of the men and women of this department. It has made my job, though at times challenging, much more pleasant than it could have been. It truly is the pinnacle of my career.
“I will walk out the door with a great sense of satisfaction, proud of what we accomplished and with the comfort of knowing that the men and women of this department will carry on without me and do the same fine job that they have done under my leadership. I couldn’t ask for a better way to leave.”