“This is one that he did, not anyone here at the Owensboro Police Department other than officer Phillips,” says Owensboro Police Chief Art Ealum.
The racist text messages that were sent by Owensboro Police Officer Steven Phillips were sent to his ex-girlfriend.
“Although he self-reported and it didn’t happen at work we still have a duty to investigate,” says Chief Ealum.
Officer Phillips is suspended for 26 days starting on July 3rd.
“He is a canine handler and we are required to afford him the opportunity to train with his k9 partners for 16 hours a month,” says Ealum.
“Anything that you say can and will be used against you off the clock, or not. I think that whenever you are an officer, or a police office enacting justice and trying to be a representative of a safe community that you are responsible for what you choose to communicate even while not wearing the badge,” says Owensboro resident Casey Kelley.
Some people in Owensboro question the department’s suspension of Phillips who admitted to sending the racist text messages.
“Officer Phillips has demonstrated that he has been professional. We hadn’t had any complaints against him to this date, in fact this would have never been brought to our attention had he not done it,” says Ealum.
Owensboro’s Chief of Police says there will be a reconciliation period when officer Phillips returns to work.
“Not only does he work with external members of our community he works with internal officers. We have minorities, Hispanics, Blacks, females, everything that he deal with here so again he’s gotta reassure them that he’s not what those text messages represent,” says Ealum.
“We all need to be very aware of how our words and what we chose to say can reciprocate negativity,” says Kelley.
During the three training days officer Phillips will still be working with his K-9 and possibly other officers. Phillips will not be on the street patrolling for the 26 days of his suspension.