Bethesda is in the grip of a growing drama surrounding suspended police chief

Community

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office confirms that what they’re investigating could lead to felony charges against Eric Smith.

Smith, who was placed on administrative leave April 3, is suspected of using the police department’s OHLEG (Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway) computer to dig up information on certain individuals for his own purposes.

Dan Tierney of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office told wtrf.com that this would be a serious charge, if probable cause is found.

“It’s very important to ensure that this information can only be used for law enforcement purposes,” Tierney explained. “It’s a felony to use it for anything other than a legitimate law enforcement investigation.”

The Village has been immersed in drama since Smith was placed on leave.

Thursday night, the village council was to hold a public hearing on the matter, but canceled it after learning that the Ohio Attorney General’s Office is taking the lead in the investigation, and asked Council to withdraw its previous 60-page complaint against the chief.

But word had gotten out, and about 70 people reportedly turned up at the meeting anyway.

So they held the meeting, moving across the street to the community center to accommodate the crowd.

Since the chief was placed on leave, two council members, four police officers and two attorneys have reportedly resigned.

Earlier complaints about Smith also centered around how he handled evidence and comments he allegedly made on social media.

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