Ozark Officer Accused of Corruption Bonds Out of Jail
Ozark Police Officer Justin Phillps, 34, is out of jail on a $7,500 after being arrested on on suspicion of corruption, according to Franklin County Sheriff Anthony Boen.
Phillips was arrested around 10:45 a.m. Tuesday.
Phillips is accused of giving a suspect in a felony theft investigation a ‘heads up’ before officers went to the suspect’s house on Puddin Ridge Road with a warrant for his arrest on June 28, according to Arkansas State Police Lt. Steve Coppinger.
Phillips used a department-issued cell phone to call his wife and ask that she contact the suspect, Aaron Lamaster, said Lt. Coppinger. Court documents say the conversation was recorded on police dash camera video.
According to the document, Phillips is heard telling the woman “Call him, tell him we are coming to his house, tell him don’t answer the door, we are coming to his house.”
The dash cam video shows Phillips and another officer approach the suspect’s home and later return to their vehicles without making contact with anyone.
Ozark Police Chief Cory Tedford began checking video from Phillip’s in-car camera due to complaints he’d received about the officer. Phillips was monitored over the last several weeks in a collaborative investigation with Arkansas State Police, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, and Ozark Police Department, the report states.
Multiple occurrences of corruption were observed during the course of the investigation, said Lt. Coppinger.
Phillips is being held at the Pope County Detention Center in Russellville on Hindering Apprehension or Investigation charges.
The investigation is ongoing, said Lt. Coppinger.
“To my knowledge no other law enforcement officers that are being investigated in this matter,” said Tedford.
Chief Tedford did not have an update in regards to Phillips’ employment status at the Ozark Police Department. He says he hasn’t spoken to him yet.