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'We hold all our officers to a higher standard.' Fort Mill cop fired after NC arrest

Tanya Moore Ervin-Leonhardt
Tanya Moore Ervin-Leonhardt

The Fort Mill Police Department has fired an officer charged earlier this month with DWI, drug possession, illegal carrying of a gun, according to police officials.

Tanya Moore Ervin-Leonhardt, 55, an officer since 2002, was fired June 3 after she was arrested June 2 in Cherryville, N.C., said Maj. Bryan Zachary, spokesman for the Fort Mill Police Department.

Cherryville is a small town in Gaston County, N.C.

Ervin-Leonhardt was arrested by Cherryville police for illegal carry of a firearm, driving while impaired, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, reckless driving, and open container. She was released on $2,500 bond after her arrest.

Fort Mill police officials were told of the arrest June 2 then fired her the next day, said Jeff Helms, Fort Mill Police Chief.

"We looked at the information and made the decision to terminate the officer," Helms said.

Helms and Maj. Bryan Zachary, spokesman for the department, said Fort Mill police will not tolerate or condone illegal or unlawful behavior.

"We hold all our officers to a higher standard," Zachary said.

Ervin-Leonhardt was the department's desk officer after serving for years as a patrol officer, Helms said.

On June 1, a little before midnight, Cherryville police got a call about careless driving. They responded to Rudisill Street, a small road crossing Main Street at the Cherryville Pool.

"It was somewhat of a road rage incident," said Cam Jenks, police chief in Cherryville.

Ervin-Leonhardt identified herself as an off-duty police officer from Fort Mill.

"Our officers could smell the odor of alcohol on her breath," Jenks said.

Ervin-Leonhardt refused to take a sobriety test and was arrested. Officers later found 12 grams of marijuana and drug paraphernalia in the vehicle.

Jenks said a police officer carrying a weapon isn't unusual, but it was the alcohol that caused the felony firearm charge.

"Since she had alcohol in her system," he said, "you're not allowed to carry your weapon concealed."

Both Helms and Zachary declined further comment, saying the decision to fire Ervin-Leonhardt is a town personnel matter.

Andrew Dys: adys@heraldonline.com; @AndrewDysHerald
John Marks: jmarks@fortmilltimes.com; @JohnFMTimes
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