Decatur Grad, Former Chief’s Daughter Shot In Line Of Duty

OCEAN CITY — A Stephen Decatur High School graduate and daughter of former Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) Chief Bernadette DiPino was shot in the line of duty in Baltimore County on Thursday and is expected to make a full recovery.

Baltimore County Police Officer Tabitha Hays on Thursday afternoon responded to a 911 call hang-up in Parkville for a reported suspect in the home with gun. During the incident, Hays was shot once in the upper body and was transported to the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore in serious conditions and was taken immediately into surgery According to Baltimore County Police, she is expected to make a full recovery.

Hays x

Tabitha Hays

An update release on Friday reports Hays is now in stable condition and remains under the care of doctors at Shock Trauma. The suspect was shot once during the incident and did not survive.

Hays, a former standout student-athlete at Stephen Decatur High School, is the daughter of DiPino, who served with the department for 24 years including nine as chief. DiPino began her career with the OCPD in 1988 after serving three years, ironically, with the Baltimore County Police Department. Hays, like her mother, is a multi-generational law enforcement officer.

After starting with the OCPD in 1988, DiPino worked her way through the department’s rank structure and was appointed acting chief in 2002 upon the retirement of former chief Dave Massey, now the chief of police in Ocean Pines. In 2003, DiPino was appointed the full-time police chief by the Mayor and Council.

After leaving the OCPD, DiPino became chief of police in Sarasota, Florida, a position she still holds. According to a Sarasota Police Department release, DiPino was notified of the incident on Thursday afternoon and immediately traveled to Baltimore County to be with her daughter and family. The Sarasota Police Department offered thanks for the outpouring of prayers and support following the incident.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

Alternative Text

Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.