Det. Mike Toolan

Det. Mike Toolan

Mike Toolan and Erik Seman may not be blood relatives, but the two “brothers in blue” have been by each other’s side since their Irvington High School days. Now, Toolan (class of 1988) and Seman (class of 1992) are retiring from the Irvington Police Department.

“Mike and I, we’re trying to do things together because that’s how all our careers went,” Seman said on Dec. 17. “When I was a senior in high school, he was in college, and he was my coach. Our whole career, we taught D.A.R.E. [Drug Abuse Resistance Education] together, we were detectives together, we coached together.”

Toolan joined the police department in 2000, while Seman started in 2002.

Both served their final days in uniform in mid-December, although their official retirement day will be in mid-February. Toolan, who is the department’s youth officer, received a big sendoff at Dows Lane Elementary School on Dec. 14, when he walked the hallways as the students and staff applauded. 

Toolan and his wife, Lisa, also an Irvington native, have been married since 1996. They have four children — Mitchell, Mallory, Liam, and Mikey (their nickname for Michael Jr.). The eldest three graduated from IHS, where Mikey is a junior. “E.J. [Erik] was my water boy playing football at the high school, and then I became his coach when he was playing football at the high school,” Toolan recalled.

After finishing college (Toolan went to Mercy College; Seman earned his bachelor’s from Western New England University and master’s from Hofstra) they both had night jobs in the city. “On the train we discussed being cops,” Toolan said. “But our main thing was to help people — that’s why we both became cops.”

As a young man, Toolan’s ambitions leaned toward “going federal — to be a U.S. Marshall, or an FBI agent. I think I was interviewing with the Secret Service when I got the call to go to Irvington. I used to say I was the most ‘local’ person in the village, because I would go to work, then to coach, and then run Irvington Rec programs.”

The two friends coached football at IHS for almost 30 years. Toolan also coached boys’ basketball, girls’ basketball, softball, and girls’ lacrosse, while Seman also coached baseball, softball, and wrestling. 

“My mother, Florence Audevard, was a coach in Irvington, and when I was a kid she ran the Pop Warner football, Irvington Rec Little League, and the Irvington High School girls’ softball team,” Seman said. 

On Dec. 17, Seman was on the road to Bluffton, S.C., a community near Hilton Head where he and his wife, Noelle, bought a house a few years ago. The couple have three sons — E.J., Dillon, and Ryan. Seman has been commuting between Bluffton and Irvington until becoming eligible for retirement. Now, he’s looking forward to a slower pace. “I’m going to start up a middle school wrestling team at my youngest son’s school,” he said. I’m looking forward to spending time with my kids, watching my kids playing their activities. Hands down, the best thing in my life is my three boys.” 

He said he’ll miss Irvington. “I’ve been there my whole life,” he said. “It’s a very unique place.”

As for Toolan, he plans to stick around for a while, at least until his youngest graduates. 

“Mrs. Maher asked me to come back,” he said, referring to Gina Maher, the famed coach of Irvington’s girls’ basketball program. “I have to make some decisions in regard to coaching.” He has also been invited to coach a rec basketball program. 

“EJ and I ran a summer sports camp for [Village Recreation Superintendent] Joe Archino for a couple of years,” Toolan said. “Two of my sons worked for the rec department as well.”

Working with kids and teens has been central to his identity, both on and off the playing field.

“Being able to take care of the kids in town has been a pleasure,” he said. “Irvington’s all about community, and it’s a community-based police force. We knew every kid at every point. We used to say that up until they’re in eighth grade, to the kids we’re rock stars. Then in ninth and 10th grade they shun us, and in 11th and 12th, they come back. At one point, I think we had five police officers coaching at the high school. The kids were always more afraid of us as coaches then they were afraid of us as cops.”

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