OCEAN CITY — Wicomico County prosecutor Kristin Heiser is the first official candidate for Worcester County State’s Attorney with this week’s campaign launch.
Heiser, a former Worcester County prosecutor who, for the last six years has held the same position in Wicomico County, formally filed for Worcester County State’s Attorney last week. However, Heiser held a special campaign launch in front of the Roland E. Powell Convention Center in Ocean City on Monday.
Heiser is married to Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) Officer Jeff Heiser, one of the officers involved an incident late last month when a motorist intentionally drove at police officers who were forced to fire their service weapons at the suspect. She comes from a law enforcement background with her father being a former Washington, D.C. police captain.
Heiser worked as an Assistant State’s Attorney in Worcester County from 2008 to 2011 before taking a similar position in Wicomico County. While she continues to prosecute cases in Wicomico, she is also in charge of the hiring and training of all new prosecutors and support staff for the District Court division. Heiser has also taught police recruits at the Eastern Shore Criminal Justice Academy and acts as a liaison for law enforcement agencies and consults on changing laws and police policies.
Heiser addressed Monday the current heroin and opioid addiction crisis in Worcester and across the state and nation, promising appropriate treatment alternatives for addicts while talking tough on the suppliers.
“My office will work hard to get true addicts the treatment they need, but at the same time, we will not allow drug dealers masquerading as addicts to escape the consequences of their crimes with lenient sentences,” she said.
Heiser also promised to advocate on behalf of those most vulnerable in the community.
“Throughout my career I have been privileged to defend those who cannot defend themselves, and I will make sure that the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s office stays committed to that high purpose,” she said. “I will specially assign an experienced prosecutor to handle all cases in which our elderly or special needs neighbors have been taken advantage of or abused.”
Heiser also drew on her law enforcement background as she spoke on the changing culture in police relationships. Her campaign launch on Monday was attended by Worcester County Sheriff Reggie Mason as well as the police chiefs of Pocomoke and Snow Hill among others.
“There has been an unfortunate shift in the culture of our country,” she said. “Police officers are too often demonized instead of praised and too often disrespected instead of appreciated for the difficult job they do. When I am State’s Attorney, I will stand shoulder to shoulder with our law enforcement and first responders and I will have their backs.”
Heiser said she would draw on her experience in hiring and training prosecutors while assembling her prosecution team if elected.
“I currently manage the hiring, training and supervision of all new prosecutors,” she said. “Over the years, I have built a strong, well-respected team and I continue to be a resource for them while they adjust to the challenges of the position. My experience has shown me that creating a great team is crucial and my leadership in Wicomico County has prepared me for the difficult task of being your state’s attorney.”
She closed her speech saying, “If elected Worcester County State’s Attorney, I pledge that equality, consistency and fairness will be the hallmarks by which I will enforce our laws and hold criminals accountable.”