Prosecutors probe ex-Phillipsburg cop’s Dayton academy tenure

Justin Sanderson, 32, is a former Phillipsburg police officer.

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Justin Sanderson, 32, is a former Phillipsburg police officer.

Montgomery County prosecutors this month sought more information about the Dayton Police Academy tenure of Justin Sanderson, the former Phillipsburg police officer arrested and released by Vandalia police in July after two women accused him of rape.

A city of Dayton public records request log shows a criminal investigator in the prosecutor’s office requested Sanderson’s personnel file on August 4. A prosecutor’s office spokesman confirmed the public records request was made “as part of the investigation” into Sanderson.

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On July 6, Sanderson, 32, was booked into jail by Vandalia police for allegedly raping two women at a Vandalia Knights Inn hotel in June, but he was released after the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office said further investigation is needed.

Sanderson is not charged with a crime. Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Greg Flannagan said the investigation into Sanderson is ongoing.

Attempts to reach Sanderson by email addresses for this story were not immediately successful.

The newspaper requested the city's public records log as part of a separate inquiry into the reported theft of Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl's police handgun, and discovered the prosecutor's request for Sanderson's personnel file occurred days after the newspaper published a report examining Sanderson's professional past, including a stint at the academy.

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The examination found that after abruptly resigning from the Juvenile Detention Center in August 2013, Sanderson joined the Dayton Police Academy in March 2014. Supervisors at the academy said Sanderson showed “a pattern of doing the bare minimum and a disregard of established rules,” according to the public records.

He was investigated at the academy for asking a female recruit and another male recruit if they were “making love” during a training exercise. Decisions on how to handle the incident reached the highest levels of the Dayton Police Department, according to department records. He was given an employee counseling form documenting instruction he was given to not make similar comments again. Sanderson apologized.

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After running late to class twice — a violation of the academy’s attendance policy — Sanderson was discharged as a police recruit, according to Dayton police records.

Still, he passed the basic state standards to certify him as a police officer. He received a certificate certifying his completion of the Ohio Peace Officer Basic Training Program on Nov. 6, 2014.

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