Dayton board says dismissal of police officer was appropriate

Former police officer says he’s running for Dayton Commission.

The Dayton Civil Service Board has affirmed the firing of a Dayton police officer who was accused of lying about a statement he allegedly made nearly two years ago.

In an order issued this week, the board ruled in favor of the city manager’s and the police chief’s decision to discharge officer Jordan Wortham.

In testimony, Dayton police Chief Richard Biehl claimed the evidence against Wortham was “clear” and “convincing,” and he said the police department’s policy for the last 13 years is to fire officers who lie.

Wortham has denied any misconduct and told the Dayton Daily News he is running for the Dayton City Commission.

“I gave the city of Dayton every chance to correct their wrongdoing,” he said. “I have every right to be critical of the Dayton Police Department, but I have the compassion to bring solutions.”

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Wortham was employed by the Dayton Police Department from April 2013 to September 2019.

In February 2019, two police officers responded to a call from Wortham at his home on Irving Avenue in Dayton, according to the Civil Service Board’s order decision. A board’s decision does say why police were called to the home.

The officers say they heard Wortham yell “get your ass down here,” and officials claim his comment was captured on an audio recording.

In May 2019, a police detective and sergeant interviewed Wortham about the incident, and he denied making the statement and denied that it was his voice on the recording, the board’s decision states.

But the city filed a civil service charge against him for making false statements and he was found guilty and his employment was ordered to be terminated.

Wortham appealed the disciplinary action to the Civil Service Board, and his case was heard in mid-November.

In testimony, Wortham claimed the comment was made by a neighbor, who was calling his dog, the board decision says.

But the board said testimony from the two responding police officers supported and corroborated each other’s accounts.

Biehl claimed there was no evidence that someone else made the statement. Biehl said police officers who lie are discharged.

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

The Civil Service Board said the city’s and the police department’s policy is to fire officers who make false statements to their supervisors or during official police business or investigations, hearings, interviews or court proceedings.

The board noted that the statement allegedly Wortham made did not involve the public or police department, but the resulting investigation implicated the accounts and integrity of the officers who responded.

The board says there was enough evidence to determine Wortham’s discipline was appropriate.

Wortham said he is running for the Dayton City Commission.

Commissioner Jeff Mims is running for mayor, meaning his seat is up for grabs, and incumbent Commissioner Darryl Fairchild is running for reelection.

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