Officer Fired from Ozark Police Force

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Justin Phillips, 34, was fired from the Ozark Police Department last week, Chief Cory Tedford said Tuesday.

On July 10, Phillips was arrested on suspicion of corruption, according to Franklin County Sheriff Anthony Boen.

Phillips received his letter of termination last week and has since returned all of his department-issued items, Chief Tedford said. His date of termination is July 11, the day after his arrest, according to Tedford.

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.

Chief Tedford began checking video from Phillip’s in-car camera due to complaints he’d received about the officer. Phillips was monitored for 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.