Judge remands case involving terminated Dayton police officer

Jordan Wortham was terminated in 2019; case now goes back to Civil Service Board for review

A judge has remanded a case involving a terminated Dayton police officer back to the Civil Service Board after ruling the board did not clearly review or consider an audio recording of the encounter in question.

Jordan Wortham, who was a Dayton police officer between 2013 and 2019, had his employment terminated after allegedly making a false statement.

In February 2019, two Dayton officers responded to a call from Wortham at his residence while he was off duty, and they allege they witnessed him yell “get your (expletive) over here” or something similar to a woman in the house.

Wortham denied making the statement during a Professional Standards Bureau interview and denied that it was his voice on mobile video recorders the police officers carried, according to civil service documents.

Wortham was found guilty of a civil service charge of making a false statement to investigators, and police Chief Richard Biehl recommended termination, which became effective Sept. 19, 2019.

Biehl said Wortham accused the officers of lying about what he said, which was a serious allegation. Biehl said the penalty for lying is discharge.

Wortham appealed his discipline to the Civil Service Board, which affirmed the city’s finding and ruling.

Wortham then filed an administrative appeal in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.

The woman in the house at the time denied he made the statement. Wortham suggested possibly a neighbor with a dog yelled that comment out.

Police claimed they could hear the “get your (expletive) over here” comment on the tape of the mobile video recorder.

But this week, Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Michael Krumholtz issued an order remanding the case to the Civil Service Board.

The judge said the record does not clearly indicate board members viewed or listened to the audio recording.

The judge said there are questions about whether the board only reviewed a report about what the recording contained.

“First, the board is to determine whether the contents of the actual recording were properly included in the appeal before the board,” Krumholtz’s order states. “Second, if the recording was not reviewed and considered by the board, the board must determine whether its contents or authentication questions alter the appellee’s evidentiary support that is required for the falsification charge.”

Wortham last year unsuccessfully ran for the Dayton City Commission, and he has filed petitions to run as a Republican for a seat on the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners in 2022.

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