Tahlequah Daily Press

September 10, 2013

TPD officer charged for harassment and threats

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — A Tahlequah police officer is facing charges in Cherokee County alleging he harassed and threatened an ex-girlfriend for months after she ended their relationship.

Jeff Phillips, 48, is charged with a misdemeanor count of harassing and threatening through electronic communication.

Phillips has been employed for six years during his second stint at the department and works on the morning-shift as a patrolman. Police Chief Nate King said Phillips’ first stint at TPD was in the 1990s as an officer and detective.

Phillips has been on leave since suffering a work-related injury earlier this year, King said.

Allegations of Phillips’ alleged harassment surfaced in early July. When the report was made to King, he took the matter to the District Attorney’s Office.

“They took the report and handled the investigation,” said King.

An internal investigation is expected to begin soon and will involve TPD administrators and city officials, according to King.

King will work with city administrators on what steps to take if Phillips is given medical clearance to return to work.

According to an affidavit prepared by District 27 Investigator Mike Moore, the alleged victim allowed Moore to listen to 64 voice messages Phillips allegedly left on her phone. Moore said the messages began in January 2013 and continued through July 2.

“The victim advised that she had ended the relationship and this is when the stalking started,” Moore wrote in his affidavit.

Some of the messages Phillips allegedly left the woman were “threatening in nature,” Moore wrote in his affidavit. The woman also told investigators she had received “disturbing” text messages from Phillips. Moore was able to view those messages, he said.

Investigators are asking a judge for permission to search Phillips’ phone for evidence.

In one message, Phillips allegedly told the woman he “will make a better friend than enemy,” and explained that the woman was “not that hard to find anyways.”

The alleged victim told investigators Phillips showed up at her place of employment and her home several times.

“We take the allegations very seriously,” King said Monday. “We’ll be working very closely with city of Tahlequah administrators for our options and procedures for handling this situation.”

Court records indicate Phillips has posted a $1,000 appearance bond was ordered back to court Nov. 8 at 9 a.m.

A judge last week issued a restraining order in the case and ordered Phillips to have no contact with the alleged victim, her family, her friends, or her co-workers.