Chattanooga Police Capt. Jeannie Snyder is back at work after an incident at a Marietta, Ga., mall during which Cobb County police took her to a hospital to be treated “for possible drug overdose.”
Capt. Snyder stepped down from her job as assistant chief after being hospitalized for what department officials called a “toxic reaction to prescribed medication” in 2007. She “appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and drugs” at the Town Center Mall at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7, according to an incident report from the Cobb County Department of Public Safety.
Capt. Snyder returned to work the next week and “is perfectly fine,” said Police Chief Freeman Cooper, who said no internal investigations or evaluations had been launched in response to the incident.
“She was not charged with a crime, period,” Chief Cooper said. “There was no violation of policy, procedure or law. If they’d have charged her with public drunkenness, that would be a different story. Instead, they sought medical help for her, and she received medical help.”
Capt. Snyder, reached at her office Tuesday, declined comment on the incident.
According to the Cobb County report, a Belk department store employee called police on Feb. 7 to report Capt. Snyder was “drunk and sitting in the makeup section.” When a Cobb County Police Department officer arrived and asked for her identification, she “began to fumble around in her purse” and “unzipped a pocket and began to remove a .38-caliber revolver.”
The officer “immediately felt threatened and knocked the purse from her hand, and then detained her,” according to the report. After determining Capt. Snyder was employed by the Chattanooga Police Department, police called an ambulance to take her to Kennestone Hospital.
Chattanooga Police Lt. Tim Carroll, Capt. Tommy Kennedy, Assistant Chief Bobby Dodd and Capt. Snyder’s husband, a civilian, met police at the hospital, the report states. Chief Dodd took custody of the gun, and he and Lt. Carroll were escorted to the Belk parking lot to retrieve Capt. Snyder’s truck, according to the report.
The gun was an “off-duty department weapon,” according to Police Chief Freeman Cooper, while the truck was a personal vehicle.
Capt. Snyder was on personal time that day, Chief Cooper said. She had taken the entire week off to use up personal days she had built up, which otherwise would be lost as of March 13, he said. Chief Cooper said many people in the department take time off in February and early March for that reason.
“She came back to work when her personal days were over,” he said.
Capt. Snyder already had taken six weeks of personal leave after a large-scale manhunt for her on Sept. 26. A multi-agency search was launched in a wooded area of Marion County that day after the then-assistant chief did not show up for work. Appearing disoriented, she walked out of the woods shortly after the search had been suspended for the night, according to department officials.
She was hospitalized, and the episode was attributed to a “toxic reaction to prescribed medication.”
After an internal “fact-finding” probe into the incident, officials determined she had not violated any policy and could return to work. She returned in November but asked to step down to the rank of captain, taking a position supervising grants and special projects for the department.
Capt. Snyder, who as assistant chief was the department’s highest-ranking female, also had been rushed to a hospital on Jan. 12, the day after she was appointed to serve in Chief Cooper’s administration. Fellow department officials found her unconscious at her Red Bank home after she missed a regular administrative meeting.
Specific information about her condition at that time never was released publicly.
Information about the Feb. 7 incident should not be released, either, according to Chief Cooper, who said in a telephone interview Tuesday that Capt. Snyder’s activities during her own personal time are “nobody’s business.”
The chief said he was “not about to single her out” for something he would not monitor for anyone else.
“I’ve got 700 employees that I don’t track every minute of every day,” he said.
When asked by the Times Free Press last month about rumors of Capt. Snyder being involved in an incident in Kennesaw, Ga., Chief Cooper said he didn’t know where she was, but that she was on personal time and had mentioned going on a hike with her sister.
Both Chief Cooper and Lt. Carroll indicated several weeks ago that they had not heard about her being in Kennesaw.
Lt. Carroll could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but Chief Cooper noted that the incident occurred in Marietta, not Kennesaw.
The chief also said it was “not abnormal” that he wouldn’t know of Capt. Snyder’s whereabouts at the time he was asked.
“I think I was in Nashville when this happened,” he said.