Pinecrest names new police chief

Samuel Ceballos Jr. was sworn in as Pinecrest’s third police chief on Wednesday.

Ceballos is the first police chief to be promoted from within Pinecrest’s police department.

His new position was announced by Village Manager Yocelyn Galiano Gomez to Pinecrest Police Department staff on Tuesday.

Ceballos, who has worked at Pinecrest’s police department for nearly 10 years, will oversee a department of 50 officers and 20 civilian employees.

Mayor Cindy Lerner said she was “proud to have tapped one of our own to be named as Pinecrest’s new Police Chief.”

“Chief Sam Ceballos Jr. has worked his way up the ranks, demonstrated a strong commitment to the village, and brings new vision that will certainly enhance Pinecrest’s Police Department, Lerner said.

Before Pinecrest, Ceballos worked at the Hialeah Police Department for over 22 years.

In 2010, he led the department in securing “Flagship Agency” status from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

“I am immensely grateful to the manager and this community, for the opportunity to serve as the chief of police and look forward to continuing to elevate the prestige of our fine department, together with the tremendously talented employees with whom I have been so fortunate to work alongside during the past 10 years,” Ceballos said in a press release.

Village Councilman Bob Ross said that the selection of Ceballos was “the result of an extremely exhaustive process conducted by [the] manager, who has kept council members informed every step of the way.”

“I am pleased that we were able to find such an outstanding candidate within our own ranks,” Ross said.

Councilman Jeff Cutler agreed.

“It is important to know that despite a nationwide search, the selection of a highly qualified existing member of our department shows a desirable growth and advancement within the ranks our Police Department,” he said.

Ceballos will join Gomez’s senior management team.

Councilman Joseph M. Corradino said Gomez’s appointment is “probably one of the most important decisions she will make for the village.”

Ceballos succeeds John Hohensee. Hohensee was Pinecrest’s police chief since 1999. He retired in April.