Chief Calls Officer’s Arrest ‘Black Eye’ for Department
An Ozark police officer arrested on corruption charges is out of jail on bond. Ozark police confirmed Wednesday afternoon Officer Justin Phillips still works for the department.
“I know this is going to be a black eye for the department,” said Chief Cory Tedford.
Phillips was arrested Tuesday, accused of giving a theft suspect a ‘heads up’ before coming to take him to jail. “Here lately Franklin County’s been in the news a lot,” said Susan Smith, of Ozark.
Police say Phillips used a department-issued cell phone to call his wife and ask that she contact the suspect, Aaron Lamaster, a local dentist. Dash camera video recorded the conversation, according to court documents. “This was an isolated incident with this officer,” said Chief Tedford.
Dr. Lamaster says he knows Officer Phillips and his wife. “He’s never to my knowledge even attempted to tip me off about anything,” he said.
Dr. Lamaster told 5NEWS he got a phone call around 4:45 p.m. from a blocked number, but the person did not leave a message. “So if he tried to get a hold of me he didn’t do it,” said Dr. Lamaster.
The prosecuting attorney’s office confirmed Dr. Lamaster’s charges were thrown out.
Phillips has been with Ozark police since 2003. Chief Tedford confirms Phillips recently got in trouble for violation of policy.
State police say the investigation involving Phillips is ongoing.
5NEWS went to Phillips’ house in Ozark Wednesday afternoon to get his side of the story. He was not home.