In one of his last official acts before retiring, Village Police Chief John Hohensee honored three pivotal members of the community for their service and ceremoniously promoted a veteran officer to the post of sergeant.
At a luncheon in the Evelyn Greer Park community room attended by many Pinecrest officials, including Village Manager Yocelyn Galiano Gomez and assistant manager Maria Menendez and uniformed police officers who wanted to formally say goodbye to their chief. Hohensee presented plaques honoring longtime members of the Pinecrest Oral Board, the first stop for applicants wanting to become Village police officers.
Larry Michelson and Roger Huxman were present to receive the awards, but a third board member, Bill Pacetti, was honored in absentia. Michelson and Huxman have been members of the Oral Board since 1995, two years before the incorporation of Pinecrest. To qualify for a spot on the board, members had to attend a class at Miami-Dade College and meet in session at least once a month, although early on the meetings were much more frequent.
Hohensee praised the honorees for their service and told the gathering that the importance of the Oral Board to the police department was immeasurable.
“I can’t tell you how important having input from residents is in selecting a police officer,” said Hohensee. “To have the time of service you guys have dedicated to the Village is just incredible. I know I speak for the entire agency and the community as well when we say we appreciate your dedication and service.”
As his last order of business before retiring from a 42-and-a-half-year career in law enforcement – the last 12-and-a-half years spent directing the Pinecrest Police Department – Hohensee officially promoted Officer Ivan Osores to sergeant. In a department as modestly sized as Pinecrest, promotions are a rarity and it has been three years since the last officer made sergeant.
“Police sergeant comes with a great responsibility, but it is also a great opportunity to test everything I’ve learned and to show you that I’m up for the challenge,” said Osores in accepting the new rank.
Osores, 36, has been a member of the Village police force since 2008 and has a long career in police work. A Miami native, he began his career as a military police officer for the U.S. Air Force, then later worked as a government contract security officer at the Kennedy Space Center and then as a member of the Titusville Police Department, before returning to South Florida and joining the Pinecrest Police Department.
Osores recalled that when he applied to join the Village police department, he was interviewed by Oral Board members Michelson and Huxman, and he did not ignore the coincidence of being honored with them at the same luncheon.
“During the interview they were stone faced,” he said. “Today, I get to see a lighter side. As Chief Hohensee said, their input is very important; third-party input like that helps a lot in hiring well-grounded officers.”
Sgt. Osores added that he thinks the Pinecrest Police Department will be the last stop on his career path.
“It’s a smaller department,” he said. “You do get a family feeling – I hate that cliché ‘you’re not just a number’ but it is appropriate. All the guys know your name, they know about your family and I like that; it’s a hometown feeling.”