A Vermilion officer could face stiff discipline for allegedly breaking into a police administrator’s locked office and then being dishonest about it during an internal investigation, according to police documents.
A commanding officer who conducted the investigation has recommended Patrolman Dale Reising be fired, according to documents from the internal investigation, which the Register obtained through a public records request.
The investigation began Feb. 10, when Vermilion police Capt. Mike Reinheimer noticed ceiling tile debris on a cabinet in his office.
Reinheimer learned Reising had been assigned one of the department’s three new police cruisers, but the vehicle’s keys had been left in Reinheimer’s locked office over the Feb. 8-9 weekend, according to the documents.
Reinheimer questioned Reising, who initially told him he had only explored the possibility of entering the office by way of the ceiling tiles, according to the report. “(I) just looked at the ceiling tiles, looked in, (saw I) could easily get in this way, and got back down,” Reising told Reinheimer, according to the report. “I didn’t actually physically enter the office.
“I was just seeing if it could be done. I never took anything,” Reising told Reinheimer.
Reising then said he made a copy of the cruiser’s key a few weeks prior to that incident.
Reinheimer went to Ace Hardware, where employees helped him pinpoint the sale of the key to the morning of Feb. 9 — right in the middle of Reising’s shift, and just a day before Reinheimer realized someone entered his office, according to the report.
The hardware store’s employees also said Reising had entered the store in full uniform that day, according to the report.
Reinheimer then interviewed Reising a second time, pointing out the apparent inconsistencies between his previous statements and what Reinheimer learned during the investigation. Reising again stuck to his story — he said he had copied the key while he was off duty and he never broke into the office, the report said.
When Reinheimer confronted Reising again about the inaccuracies, Reising asked for his union representative, but he then admitted to the theft, according to the report.
“Ptl. Reising’s actions are equivalent to Breaking and Entering under the Ohio Revised Code,” Reinheimer stated in his report.
He found Reising had violated two department rules regarding the incident: He allegedly gained unauthorized entry to a restricted area, and he allegedly provided false information during a disciplinary investigation.
While the former infraction usually warrants a written reprimand, the latter generally warrants dismissal, police documents stated.
“The act of breaking into the Captain’s office was motivated by a selfserving desire to obtain the keys to a new cruiser,” Reinheimer stated in the report. “The act of knowingly providing false information … shows a pattern of self-serving motives … and brings into question his ability and loyalties to be a police officer for the Vermilion Police Department”
Reinheimer ended his report: “My recommendation for this infraction would be dismissal from his position as a Patrolman for the Vermilion Police Department”
Because Reising is currently on family medical leave, he has yet to face any formal discipline, the report stated.
In an email, Vermilion police Chief Chris Hartung said he anticipates Reising will be placed on administrative leave later this week.