Long-Time Police Officer Fired, City Says It's Policy - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/15/07-Longview

Long-Time Police Officer Fired, City Says It's Policy

She has officially been fired. Last week we told you about Longview Officer Judy Ivory-Gilliand who was facing termination by the city, but now, it's a done deal. This, after she's been on leave for six months, diagnosed with a possibly fatal case of viral meningitis. Officer Ivory-Gilliand told KLTV 7 the firing is completely unjustified.

"I transported those kids in my police unit after I was called to the nurse's station to get them," former Longview Police Officer Judy Ivory-Gilliland said.

A high school resource officer, "Officer Judy," as most kids called her, says she was simply doing her job.

"That's where I got sick, transporting kids home," she explained.

Little did she know, she'd be diagnosed with viral meningitis, have to spend two months in the hospital and six months off the job.

"The city policy essentially requires anyone that's absent from work for over six months is subject to separation," said Assistant City Manager Chuck Ewings.

And the city has officially "separated" from Officer Judy. Just two years shy of retirement, she's been with the department for almost 18 years, even named "Officer of the Year" back in 2002. 

"I've been there 17 and a half years, how can they do this to me?" Officer Judy said.

"Well I think we're just trying to be consistent with our policy, bottom line we have to treat all employees similar," Ewings said.

The city says it was a tough call, but they want to stick to their policy.  All Officer Judy wants is a light-duty job.

"They didn't care enough to keep me there," Judy said. "I mean there's been so many people that have been put on light-duty, I didn't even get a chance to be put on light duty."

Officer Judy has her share of support.  The Longview Police Association is backing her.  In a letter, they say they'll stand up for one of their own, if the city won't.

Officer Judy and her husband say it's not over yet.  They're filing "grievance papers" with the city Wednesday. Once a grievance is filed, it's up to the city manager to make a final decision.

They say they also plan on filing a lawsuit against the city for unlawful termination and racial discrimination.

Tracy Watler/Reporting: tracy@kltv.com

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