UPDATE: Nearly one year ago, officer Leigh Ann Snyder was headed to a business where an alarm had gone off, but she never made it to the scene.
Police say this man, 23-year-old Ramon Dominguez of Longview was driving drunk when he collided head-on with Snyder's vehicle on West Loop 281.
Snyder's injuries were numerous -- a broken hip, a bulging disc in her neck, and about a half-dozen bone fractures.
After months of surgeries plus support from other Longview police officers, the seven-year officer says she's almost ready to return to duty.
"I just want my job," Snyder said. "I'm able to recover. I'm expected to make a full recovery, and just give me that chance to do that."
Under a Longview city personnel policy adopted several years ago by the city council -- Snyder has until December 11 -- the anniversary of her wreck -- to return to work.
Otherwise she would be terminated.
Tuesday, flanked by Snyder and about two dozen Longview officers, representatives with Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas asked the people of Longview to get their city council to change the policy.
"I don't necessarily know if those people know how bad this makes the city look and how bad it makes the families of these first responders feel any time of the year, but especially here at Christmas," CLEAT Attorney Richard Carter said.
City Manager David Willard says Snyder's situation is unfortunate.
"We do, however, have policies in place that provide safety nets for our employees," Willard said.
Those safety nets include workers compensation, untaxed pay up to 70 percent of a worker's salary up to two years, disability insurance through the Texas Municipal Retirement System, and long-term disability coverage.
"We will be happy and willing to try to provide her with all of the information she needs regarding the types of safety nets that are available to city employees who find themselves in these types of situations," Willard said.
Longview Mayor Jay Dean would not comment on the specifics of Snyder's case but said the City Council changed city policy in 2007 to extend medical leave from six months to 12 months before termination.
"I think the council has considered trying to make it more reasonable, and I think we've done that," Dean said.
Dominguez is scheduled to enter a plea to his intoxication assault charge from the Dec. 11 wreck during a hearing at the Gregg County Courthouse on Jan. 13.
Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas:
LONGVIEW (KYTX) - The Longview Police Officers Association and the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, or CLEAT, held a news conference today at city hall to bring attention to the termination of Officer Leigh Ann Snyder.
Officer Snyder, a long time Longview police officer, was critically injured in an on-duty wreck by a drunk, unlicensed, uninsured driver.
Now Officer Snyder, who has been off work because of serious, life-threatening injuries, has been notified that she will be terminated on or by December 11, 2012.
"Leigh Ann Snyder is a good cop. She served her community with bravery, courage and distinction. And the day of the DWI wreck, she almost gave her life in the service of the citizens of Longview. This is a very strange way to show the gratitude that is due this fine officer," said Charley Wilkison, Director of Public Affairs at CLEAT.
"The American system of justice will make sure that the rights of the drunk, insured, unlicensed driver are protected. They will make sure that he has his day in court with a lawyer, but that same government is sending Leigh Ann to the house. She is being fired because of an arcane rule that exists in Longview, Texas. This wouldn't happen in Tyler, Texarkana or even Marshall because she would be protected under the rules of civil service, but because of the good-ole boy rules in Longview, Texas, an injured officer is fired at Christmas. That's just wrong," stated Wilkison.
Officer Snyder has been unable to return to duty due to medical treatment and subsequent surgeries sustained while in the line of duty, and had requested a similar, light-duty assignment that had been offered to other injured officers in the past.
"This isn't justice. In fact, you could call this a travesty of justice," said Wilkison.
The leaders of the Longview Police Officers Association, LPOA, have met with the city manager and police administration officials asking that an exception be made in the rule that states an officer must return to duty within one year. So far, city leaders have refused to change their mind.
The suspect in the unlicensed, uninsured, DWI accident has not yet even had a court date.
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