UPDATED: Pines Police Chief Suspended As Officials Investigate Burglary

UPDATED: Pines Police Chief Suspended As Officials Investigate Burglary
Leo Ehrisman

OCEAN PINES – Ocean Pines Police Chief Leo Ehrisman has been placed on administrative leave as the association works with local agencies to investigate a reported burglary that occurred at a storage shed used by the police department.

On Tuesday, the Ocean Pines Association (OPA) announced that Ehrisman has been placed on paid administrative leave effective Jan. 1. The suspension came just one day after General Manager John Viola learned of a reported burglary at the department’s storage shed, according to the association.

“On Saturday, December 31, 2022, OPA’s General Manager became aware of a report of a burglary which occurred at a storage shed used by the Ocean Pines Police Department on December 17, 2022,” a statement from the Ocean Pines Association reads. “After consultation with partners at the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and the Office of the State’s Attorney, OPA has taken steps to ensure that a thorough and independent investigation is conducted, and that police services to residents of Ocean Pines remain uninterrupted.”

The statement continues, “Effective January 1, 2023, Ocean Pines Police Chief Ehrisman has been placed on paid administrative leave, during which time a commander from the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office will provide on-site leadership to the Ocean Pines Police Department and will oversee a complete audit and inventory of the contents of the storage shed and the property room. OPA has been working with the Sheriff’s Office to implement these changes since last Friday and has pledged to cooperate fully with the investigation.”

Ehrisman began his lengthy career at the Ocean Pines Police Department in 1986. Starting as a patrol officer, he climbed the ranks to become the agency’s police chief in 2020.

Because of the ongoing nature of the criminal investigation, the association could not provide additional comments but encouraged anyone with information about the reported burglary to contact the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office at 410-632-1112.

“Investigators of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office are conducting a Burglary Investigation at the request of the Ocean Pines Association,” a statement from the sheriff’s office reads. “In addition, this Office is providing on-site leadership to the Ocean Pines Police Department to oversee that services to the Ocean Pines community are uninterrupted during this investigation.”

The statement continues, “As this is an active criminal investigation we cannot provide additional information at this time nor do we have a comment on the status of Chief Ehrisman.”

Worcester County State’s Attorney Kris Heiser this week confirmed the information provided in the association’s statement, but declined to provide additional details, citing the ongoing investigation.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.