Though the Chattanooga Police Department took no action against Capt. Jeannie Snyder for alleged drunken and disorderly conduct because activities during her personal time are “nobody’s business,” at least two other officers have been disciplined for off-duty activities, records show.
Chief Freeman Cooper told the Chattanooga Times Free Press earlier this week that he was “not about to single (Capt. Snyder) out” for something he would not monitor for anyone else.
But the chief suspended Sgt. Gary Martin for one day in 2007 after department officials found him guilty of “neglect of duty” while he was off the clock, records show.
The alleged policy violation stemmed from an incident in July during which Sgt. Martin left his patrol vehicle unattended outside Chili’s Grill & Bar on Brainerd Road and it was stolen.
At the time, the officer was “working an off-duty job,” according to a news release detailing the incident the following day.
The vehicle was vandalized but was recovered a short time later, the release stated.
Officer Kendra Adams received a letter of reprimand in her personnel file in 2000 under former Chief Jimmie Dotson. The officer allegedly pulled up her shirt and flashed someone at an alcohol-fueled party held at her house while she was off duty in April of that year.
The party was attended by a group of local public safety officials and resulted in the demotion of two Hamilton County sheriff’s deputies, according to newspaper archives.
Then-Chief Dotson told the Times Free Press in September 2000 that he decided to reprimand Officer Adams, whose name at that time was Officer Friel, based on the results of an internal fact-finding investigation.
“My actions were intended to protect the integrity of the department,” Chief Dotson said. “She was reprimanded for violating the code of conduct.”
The department reinforces the idea that officers are held to a higher standard of conduct during the police academy and through annual in-service training, he told the newspaper.
The department’s current internal affairs division head, Capt. Mike Mathis, said he was unfamiliar with the facts of Officer Adams’ case. He said he was out of the office when contacted late Thursday and unable to get to her case file until this morning.
In Sgt. Martin’s case, Capt. Mathis said, discipline was warranted because although he was off duty, he was working in uniform providing security, and therefore “acting under the color of the authority given to him by the police department.”
“We have a policy that says you must keep your equipment safe and secure, and if you fail to do that, then the department can hold you accountable for that,” Capt. Snyder said.
He declined to compare either case with Capt. Snyder’s situation.
“I don’t have the facts available to me about Capt. Snyder to draw an inference from,” he said. “I don’t have an investigation on her in my office.”
A report obtained from the Cobb County Department of Safety indicates Capt. Snyder was carrying a department-owned gun on Feb. 7, when police in Marietta, Ga., were called to the Town Center Mall because she allegedly was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
She was detained and sent to the hospital for treatment of a possible drug overdose, the report states, but never arrested or charged in connection with the incident.
Chattanooga Police Department policy states that officers are not allowed to carry firearms within eight hours of consuming alcohol.
Chief Cooper has said Capt. Snyder, who also had been hospitalized two times prior, did not violate any policy during the Feb. 7 incident. As a result, he did not order an internal affairs investigation or fitness-for-duty examination.
“There was no violation of policy, procedure or law. If they’d have charged her with public drunkenness, that would be a different story,” he said during a telephone interview Tuesday.
City of Chattanooga spokesman Richard Beeland said he was unable to comment Thursday on whether the city could or would step in to address any employment issues in regard to Capt. Snyder.
“I’d have to defer to the police department right now,” he said.
A Cobb County, Ga., police report indicates Chattanooga Police Capt. Jeannie Snyder was carrying a department-owned gun while appearing intoxicated at a Marietta, Ga., mall Feb. 7, but she was not arrested or charged for public drunkenness.
Chattanooga Police Department policy precludes officers from carrying firearms within eight hours of consuming alcohol.