Friday, May 13, 2011

Surprise police fire officer on suspicion of DUI charge

Mike Phillips, a rookie police officer who dreamed of becoming a detective, was fired Monday following his April arrest on suspicion of aggravated DUI and endangerment, Surprise Police Department officials said.

Phillips, who lives in Waddell, was arrested April 12 by fellow officers after police said he bumped another vehicle at a low speed with his vehicle outside his child's school, police said. Police said the incident did not occur on school property.

Phillips did not return a request for comment.

Maricopa County Attorney's Office spokesman Jerry Cobb said prosecutors haven't charged Phillips and are seeking more information.

Cobb said it could take several months for prosecutors to decide.

"There's no real yardstick because each of these things is different," he said.

Police said Phillips was impaired by a "nervous system depressant" at the time of the incident. That could be any number of things, including cold medicine, authorities said.

Police said Phillips was at Paradise Education Centers, at 15533 W. Paradise Lane, to drop off his child. He was booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail and placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.

Sgt. Mark Ortega, a department spokesman, said Phillips' supervisors took into account the severity of the charges and the fact that he was a probationary employee before they decided to fire him.

Phillips, a 39-year-old rookie on the job less than a year, was a longtime McDonald's franchise manager. He told The Republic in August of his dreams of becoming a detective.

Lt. Penny Riherd said at the time that Phillips was hired in part because he was new to law enforcement.

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