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Cop Fired For Responding to Officer Down Call

Cop Fired For Responding to Officer Down Call

The Houston Chronicle via YellowBrix

June 08, 2011

HOUSTON, TX – Law enforcement leaders are stepping up criticism of Rice University’s firing of a police officer who responded to an armed standoff off-campus last month with a man who shot two HPD officers before turning the gun on himself.

Rice University terminated the officer, David Sedmak, for dereliction of duty for leaving his post to get to the call near the downtown Greyhound station. Sedmak responded to the scene when he heard the call on his police scanner.

“You don’t fire a guy for this unless he’s a chronic disciplinary problem,” said Kevin Lawrence, executive director of the Texas Municipal Police Association, at a news conference Monday. “You call him in, you counsel him and you put him back out there (to work). If he’s a good cop, he’s a good employee. You use this as a training opportunity.”

On May 7, the suspect, Jesse Brown, 20, was spotted with a pistol as he tried to buy a ticket at the Greyhound station at 2121 Main.

Brown shot Houston police officer Fernando Meza, who was working an off-duty job at the bus station and confronted Brown about the pistol. Meza was hit in the hand. Moments later, Brown also shot Houston police officer Timothy Moore in the leg outside a nearby McDonald’s. The two officers joined about 25 other police officials Monday in a show of support.

“In this case, Officer Sedmak’s reward was he was fired,” said Ray Hunt, vice president of the Houston Police Officers Union.

Hunt presented Sedmak with a $2,500 check Monday to help him as he tries to land another job.

Sedmak said he was astounded to learn he was being fired for helping fellow officers in distress.

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Former Rice University police officer David Sedmak has drawn support from Houston police.

“My only concern on that day was to render aid to these two officers,” he said. "… Quite frankly, I couldn’t believe that after being in law enforcement for nearly 17 years that I was being relieved of my duty for running an assist to an officer.

“There’s been a lot of talk about me being a hero, and I just want to say personally that the real heroes here are these two officers and the job that they performed on that day,” said Sedmak, a former Galveston police officer.

University spokesman B.J. Almond declined to comment about Sedmak’s firing, but he provided a statement from the university.

“As a matter of policy, Rice University does not comment on personnel matters,” the statement reads. “However, out of respect for the Houston Police Department, we want to clarify that David Sedmak was terminated from the Rice University Police Department for dereliction of duty. Sedmak left his post when only two other officers were on duty and failed to notify his supervisor of his whereabouts for nearly an hour, which could have endangered the safety of our students and campus.”

Almond said that Rice University police officers frequently assist other law enforcement agencies near the university on a case-by-case basis. In the first five months of 2011, the department responded to 37 calls for help from adjacent police agencies.

“In all instances, Rice officers are required to promptly notify the RUPD dispatcher of their location and the situation … (to) ensure that enough officers are on duty on campus to protect the safety of our students and employees,” according to the statement.


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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Sgt_Hondo402

    6 months ago

    94 Comments

    I can see both sides of this, however, to fire a 13 year Veteran of the force is a bit extreme. Where I live in Southern Illinois I hear Campus DPS backing up our City Police Officers quite frequently. This is typical politics coming in to play. Should the terminated officer been written up yes, It is for his safety that he call in to dispatch with location. However, fire...NOT SO MUCH

  • Afspa_life_member-back_max50

    keeneagle

    9 months ago

    41462 Comments

    Maybe now he can get a job with a department that will appreciate his attitude AND dedication to his fellow officers!
    SHAME on you Rice University!!!!!

  • Mardi_gras_cat_max50

    DonnaLynn

    11 months ago

    10494 Comments

    http:/ /www.examiner.com/article/rice-police-chief-major-resign-face-of-officer-s-firing
    I don't know if anyone ever posted a follow up on this fiasco! Just close up the spaces between / and /.

  • Chief_instigator_max50

    excop23260

    over 1 year ago

    796 Comments

    Fired for aiding a fellow Officer under attack? DAMN, that sounds like the agency I worked for. With a new Sheriff now, the City of Richmond S/O may well be "heads-up", but under the previous 2 Sheriffs, this stupidity was the norm. Do your job very well, and you would certainly be punished for it. The Rice Chief needed to be fired for PERMITTING Officer Sedmak to be fired.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    swatj10

    over 1 year ago

    760 Comments

    Granted he did not call in to his Shift Commander (shame on him for doing this) however, I have reason to believe that the Hierarchy of this particular University had it in for this officer. If that be the case, the Camous Police doesn't need him for he is a high caliber officer and he needs to go where he is appriciated.

  • Csd_b_w_bust_max50

    EbonyTopCop

    about 2 years ago

    4 Comments

    Remember the college has to work with the police, not against the police. They must support each other!

  • 002_max50

    KMueller

    about 2 years ago

    254 Comments

    AHP3611, I agree what happened the other 37 disciplinary times that officers responded to other agencies?
    BUMP to you.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 2 years ago

    Geeze! I can't believe they would fire him.

  • shadow_officer

    over 2 years ago

    8566 Comments

    I think I speak for every officer here...when I say WTH were they thinking about when they fired an officer who responds to an OFFICER DOWN CALL or OFFICER NEEDS ASSISTANCE.....food for thought...would they want someone to respond to them being shot or hurt on duty....or tell everyone...dont worry about...he's got it handled...

  • Work_max50

    Mr_Nothumbs

    over 2 years ago

    250 Comments

    I hope houston PD hires him! BS him being fired!!!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    maxxoccupancy

    almost 3 years ago

    328 Comments

    I've taken up supervisory duties in many different capacities, and I want my people always thinking for themselves and helping out other members of the team. We can all appreciate the problem of leaving the campus unprotected for an hour, but the competing harms principle has to apply to cases like this, as well. The officer took the initiative and did the right thing.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    almost 3 years ago

    Back again but had to give my friend CBPD607 a big bump.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    gmacewan

    almost 3 years ago

    24 Comments

    Sounds like my old Chief....whatever it takes to keep his boss happy and keep himself in their good graces...no guts and an absolute disregard for the care and welfare of his men. If anything, this Officer should have been commended and and thne maybe once the smoke settled, a little training in the SOPS, if eve that. But his boss should have remembered, this Officer had a DUTY to respond...regardless of his employer. Geeze, I'm amazed at this kind of stuff...."Out of respect for the Huston Police Department...". Please, what a joke. I wish Officer Sedmak all the best in his future.

  • Smiling_profile_max50

    Retireddetective

    almost 3 years ago

    24 Comments

    The sad state of Academia thinking. Sounds like they are the ones who need training!

  • Crumb_passin_thru_02_1__max50

    mz66

    almost 3 years ago

    3718 Comments

    Editorial from Rice University's official student newspaper in support of Sedmak:

    http://www.ricethresher.org/rupd-officer-unfairly-terminated

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