Everett fires police lieutenant after DUI investigation

EVERETT — An Everett police lieutenant was fired Wednesday in connection with his drunken-driving arrest last summer.

Jimmy Phillips, 60, had his prosecution deferred for five years, meaning he won’t be convicted unless he has more legal trouble. The deferral is a common outcome for people without a prior DUI.

Chief Dan Templeman deemed Phillips unfit for duty after an internal investigation at the police department, according to documents released Thursday. Phillips worked for the department for nearly 26 years. He was on leave after his arrest in August.

“Your behavior erodes the public trust in its appearance of hypocrisy,” Templeman wrote in the termination letter.

The chief appreciated Phillips’ years of service, but “his actions clearly violate our department’s canons of ethics as police officers and are inconsistent with our core values of honor, integrity and professionalism,” Templeman said in a prepared statement.

Phillips rolled his truck while off-duty on Aug. 25 in Benton County in Eastern Washington. He reportedly told a Washington State Patrol trooper that he was drinking whiskey while driving home from Colorado and that he’d tossed the bottle away from the crash site. As part of the deferred prosecution, Phillips was ordered to seek alcohol treatment, use a DUI ignition lock in his car and pay $1,400 in fines.

The city of Everett declined Phillips’ request for a waiver that would have allowed him to operate a patrol car without an ignition device, according to public records obtained by The Daily Herald. The city also declined his request to be permitted to get rides to scenes with other officers as needed.

Phillips has to use the ignition device until at least September. Granting him an exception for a city vehicle “would set an unappealing and unacceptable precedent,” the chief wrote.

As of Thursday afternoon, Phillips had not filed an appeal of the firing, city spokeswoman Meghan Pembroke said. The city is planning to fill his position, which oversees investigations, major crimes and about 30 detectives and support staff. Phillips also was a supervisor on the countywide team that investigates officer-involved shootings and other fatal uses of force.

In the termination letter, Templeman wrote that Phillips’ behavior in August was disappointing and jeopardized the public’s trust in law enforcement.

“Your conduct brought discredit to you, the department and the city,” the chief wrote.

Phillips especially was “imprudent” when he approached the trooper at the scene while holding a personal firearm, Templeman wrote.

Phillips also had handed his entire wallet over to the investigators, meaning they saw his badge along with his driver’s license. He told his bosses he has since quit drinking.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

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