ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Abilene Police Chief Marcus Dudley Jr. has issued a statement after an officer who was injured in the line of duty was granted extended leave against his request.
Chief Dudley says that he is going to continue to support Officer Mary Guitar, who was granted 4 months of extended leave by council members Thursday as she continues to struggle with PTSD and substance abuse issues after a horrific line of duty injury in 2020.
In his statement, Chief Dudley says that it is unusual to address an employee matter in a pubic hearing, but Abilene’s government code mandates that all requests for extended leave but presented in city council.
The full statement reads as follows:
Today’s Council agenda included an officer’s request to extend their Line of Duty Illness
or Injury Leave of Absence. This is afforded to Civil Service employees through Local
Government Code 143.073(a) after the City has provided leave related to the person’s
illness or injury when the leave surpasses a one year period.
It is unusual for the need to address an employee related matter in a public
hearing. However, the Local Government Code stipulates that a request to extend paid
leave status be presented before our municipal governing body. That said, today’s
decision by Council approved the request to extend the administrative leave with pay
for an additional four months.
We are thankful for the many difficult decisions that our Mayor and Council members
have to make. We will continue to support our officer. The well-being of the women
and men who serve remains a priority, as is protecting our community.
Chief Marcus Dudley Jr.
During the meeting, council members did ask Chief Dudley what he thought, and he requested they deny Officer Guitar’s request for leave.
“I am not comfortable under the circumstances with accepting that in another four months, things will be different,” Chief Dudley said when asked by council for his expert opinion.
Officer Guitar’s attorney Zach Horn, responded to this by saying, “I was pretty stunned by the chief’s presentation, and I am really glad its recorded for everybody to see.”
Horn also said that Officer Guitar is now one year sober, and she attributes her success to the organization Warrior’s Heart.
Both Chief Dudley and Horn spoke in the meeting, outlining Officer Mary Guitar’s well-documented struggles with both PTSD and substance abuse for years after she was repeatedly stabbed in the head and face by a robbery suspect.
The request for extended leave was approved by a vote of 4 to 3.
Read more about what was disclosed in the meeting here.