CLAYTON – A former Officer of the Year with the Clayton Police Department will surrender his law enforcement certification and complete a drug diversion program under a plea agreement.
Owen Phillips pleaded guilty last Thursday to misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance, Testosterone. Under the plea arrangement, Mr. Phillips will not serve any time in jail but has to complete a drug diversion program and permanently surrender his law enforcement eligibility. He had originally been charged with a felony.
In January 2021, a Johnston County Grand Jury returned a True Bill of Indictment against Phillips for felony possession with intent to manufacture sell and deliver testosterone, a schedule three controlled substance. The offense occurred between April and July 2020, according to the indictment. The investigation into the case was conducted by the NC State Bureau of Investigation.
“The District Attorney’s Office commends the Clayton Police Department for handling this officer misconduct case in such a professional and timely manner. We would also like to thank State Bureau of Investigation Agent Ludwig for such a thorough and comprehensive investigation,” said Johnston County Assistant District Attorney Paul Jackson.
Phillips was hired by the Clayton Police Department in February 2009. He resigned from the police department on August 20, 2020.
Four days later, on August 24, 2020, District Attorney Susan Doyle and then Clayton Police Chief Blair Myhand requested the NC SBI conduct an investigation that reportedly involved allegations an officer failed or neglected to perform official duties. Officer Phillips was not named as the focus of the investigation at that time.
Phillips was suspended without pay for two days on November 17, 2009 for being involved in two motor vehicle accidents while on patrol and responding to calls for service on the same day, Nov. 10, 2009. His take home vehicle privileges on his Clayton patrol car was suspended for six months.
In 2015, Phillips was selected by his peers as the Clayton Police Officer of the Year. In 2017, he was named the Town of Clayton Employee of the Year.
In February 2018, Phillips announced he would be a candidate for the Johnston County Board of Education, however he never formally filed for the school board that year.
Phillips, a 1998 graduate of Clayton High School, spent five years in the United States Army while stationed in Washington State and Georgia , and received two medals of commendation.
He previously worked at the Smithfield Police Department for three years before he joined the Clayton Police department in 2009.