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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

    P468

    about 3 years ago

    20 Comments

    Another fine example of the mental midgets running our government and 'higher education' institutions.

  • P1010514_max50

    Freedom70

    about 3 years ago

    26 Comments

    I totally commend this officer for the help he gave to the downed officers. But at the same time leaving your post without notifying anyone is not a good thing. No way should he had been fired just a repremand or somthing.
    Good luck Dave and i am very proud of what you did.

  • Police___2_max50

    Jim_Copley

    about 3 years ago

    18 Comments

    Our 911 dispatchers know up front that if a "Signal 1" (officer shot/down, under fire, whatever the case might be) goes out on the radio - every police officer available (regardless of department) responds to assist. This is the biggest bunch of bullshit. Please do not take this the wrong way. University police officers get a bad rap to start with - most think they are just campus security guards, to include a university's administration. If the administration does not want the university police to pursue a case they tell their police dept to stand down. I know this from first hand experience with Marshall University in Huntington, WV.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    tremor2

    about 3 years ago

    430 Comments

    It would be especially decent of the Houston PD to find rom in their dept. for such a courageous man.
    I hope it all works out for (former) officer Sedmak.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    tremor2

    about 3 years ago

    430 Comments

    This is why employment as a police officer in a PRIVATE university is to be avoided if at all possible. People who run those institutions of 'higher learning' simply do not understand the nature of police work. They are only concerned with the $bottom line in a money making FOR PROFIT institution. They look upon their campus PDs only as a necessary evil, and really don't support their officers at all. Bad treatment, poor pension plans and lack of respect for their officers is the status quo at these private institutions. Little to no union protections in place, and you can be fired at any time, for any reason, with little redress regarding disciplinary issues. No way would I ever want to work for these private colleges.

  • 162935_10150344760130618_807410617_15819971_6937039_n_max50

    todaresq

    about 3 years ago

    20 Comments

    If not reinstated to Rice, I hope there is a spot open for him in HPD. While he of course would have been better if he notified dispatch and/or requested permission to assist, I don't see this as a fireable offense unless he repeatedly was negligent etc.

    The call was 2 miles down the road... literally a STRAIGHT down the road. He was probably closer than many other HPD officers.

    Also, to think that he let the students and staff in danger... this occurred May 7th... the last final was on May 4th... so the campus population at that time was very small. Only graduating seniors and grad students remained living on campus and most faculty were not there. With a total student population of 4,000 +/- there was probably only 800 students there... and with 600 full and part time faculty... doubt there was more than 50 there on a Saturday after school ended for the year.

    This was complete BS... and the University should be ashamed. I know most college PD's do as told by the VP overseeing the Chief... so it may not be the Chiefs decision.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    DC748

    about 3 years ago

    68 Comments

    Just a few things to ponder.......

    All Lawmen Remember This;
    “ In any meeting with renegades, or desperate outlaws, you must know if there is to be a shooting, you should be prepared to join in the fray with disconcerting alacrity and deadly effect.”
    “ For the reason that society could much better afford to lose a score or two of rustlers and bandits, than to sacrifice an efficient peace officer. “
    John Clum
    Lawman Tombstone Arizona

    Never take no for an answer from someone who dose not have the authority to say yes in the first place.

    Mike Crager 12-03-2009

    Most University Police Departments have the same standards force on them.......Keep it quiet from the public,,,Do not scare the students or the Alum....Be seen and not heard.....Forgive every student Athlete for any indiscretion...No bad publicity leaves this campus relating to the students or staff.

    Kind of like in the "70's"when officers got bad raps around the University ie. TSU & Uof H, we had this made into bumper stickers.....NEED HELP?...CALL A HIPPIE...

  • Caronstar_20_2__max50

    ZZZzzz

    about 3 years ago

    128 Comments

    Somethings up with this officer and his department...

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    bluebrother

    about 3 years ago

    774 Comments

    Hang in there David we are behind you. The Cadillac coffee shop pea brains that are in charge have not a clue about real world. They are out to make themselves look good, and at times, like this idiot that let you go, they fall on their face and get up with ----on their faces. Been there done exactly what you did and at the time worked for someone with the below intelligence that you did. To hell with the idiots full speed ahead, after all I wonder if it were they in the officers down situation, would they want you to leave your post then? Great job, be proud of your actions, and I hope some really neat and real department gives a man of your caliber a job.

  • Me2_max50

    bstites

    about 3 years ago

    1028 Comments

    That is stupid! Ahh this makes me mad. He should go work somewhere else where they are not as stupid. If any discipline he should have been written up but I think they should make exceptions for officer down.

  • Deputy_max50

    Mal196

    about 3 years ago

    2 Comments

    With all the acts of violence against police offiicers the last few years, im appauled at Rice University for thier actions taken against this career officer. After coming of one of the deadliest years of killings against police officers, you would think that his "chief" would consider this and the situation before firing him. Lets hope that nothing of this nature happens again where the only available back up is from the university and it causes an officer to lose his life because they are afraid to responded because they may get fired. Shame on Rice University!!!!! Fire the damn chief and the president of rice!!!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    msjayelbee

    about 3 years ago

    612 Comments

    wHAT??? FIRED? GOOD LORD! If he actually endangered the lives of staff and students at Rice University because he left his post---I think that just speaking with him about it would have been enough. On the other hand, if you believe that fellow officers lives are in danger, how could you help but react.? I'm a civilian, but I think that firing was way over the top. It was nice to see that his Union gave him $2,500 while he looks for another job.

  • 21_max50

    philfroggy

    about 3 years ago

    1564 Comments

    Sounds like a terrible decision by the college, I commend Officer Sedmak for going to assist. Thank you, I am confident that you will not have any problems moving on from this.

  • 11_max50

    DarkKnight77587

    about 3 years ago

    94 Comments

    REPOST from my earlier Post - KEEP IT GOING!!
    ******************************************************************************
    The following is from a Houston Talk Show Host. His website is: http://www.ktrh.com/pages/michaelberry.html
    You can hear the radio call Officer Sedmak listened to at this web site as well as Michael Berry interviewing Officer Sedmak.
    Its interesting to note that the Officer had just be trained as a trainer in Feb. - sent by Rice university - to an ACTIVE SHOOTER School.
    ********************************************************
    Call the following people at Rice and politely tell them this is unacceptable.
    Chief of Police William Taylor: 713-348-6333
    Main number for the police: 713-348-6000
    University President David Leebron: 713-348-5050
    Exec. Asst. to the President: 713-348-5049
    Main number for the university: 713-348-0000

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    maxxoccupancy

    about 3 years ago

    328 Comments

    I absolutely support the idea of firing bad cops. That comes with the responsibility of peace officer. Still, I don't see that the officer did anything wrong, and university officials need to recognize that this is a job that requires quick thinking without panic. Most people couldn't do this job, even with training. In an emergency, you go to the aid of those in danger stabilize a situation. He did what he was supposed to.

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