By Brian Gilliland, Associate Editor
(July 6, 2018) Kris Heiser doesn’t just have one plan heading in to the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s office — she has about eight — and has recently made for herself the time to achieve what she’s set out to do.
“I’m really excited to get to work, but the transition is up in the air, and so I don’t know the plan in Worcester, but I’ve given my two weeks’ notice to Wicomico County, and am ready to get to work,” she said.
She said she’s been scheduling meetings with department heads and staff, making lots of preparations and monitoring court in the meantime.
As for the existing staff at the prosecutor’s office, she said she’s keeping anyone willing to stay.
“Elections can get messy and heated, and I don’t want to rehash any of that, so I’m going to keep anyone who wants to stay. It’s not fair to hold politics against anyone, so I’m going in expecting to have a full staff — if that changes, then I’ll address it,” she said.
These opinions are derived from experience.
“I’ve been through lots of elections, and I don’t want anyone to feel like they’re in flux or in limbo. After Beau Oglesby won over Joel Todd, Joel told us not to risk our positions over the election. I don’t want the office politicized to that extent,” she said.
People have been reaching out to Heiser daily since the election, she said, but she also has her own ideas.
“I want to start attacking opioids from all sides and see what everyone has to offer — the venue is the courtroom, because you can identify who needs help since they’re already in court,” Heiser said.
She said in Wicomico County, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Health Department each have an advocate at every single drunken driving case to advise the court of programs and services the organizations offer.
“We could facilitate the docket so they don’t have to be there every single day,” she said, but keeping the substance abuse cases together could produce organizational benefits.
“We can bring resources to the person at the time of the trial, so the judge can make them part of the sentence,” she said. “There are lots of different layers of accountability.”
Another idea being developed elsewhere on the shore is for a veteran’s court. Similar to a drug court, the veteran’s court would offer non-violent offenders with previous military experience an alternative to a criminal proceeding.
“If we can do it for drug users, we can do it for veterans, who deserve it the most,” she said.
The Worcester County Board of Elections has not yet certified this race, which it is expected to do today, Friday.