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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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  • Caduceus_max50

    headbrer

    about 3 years ago

    5490 Comments

    What a load of crap. 'Nuff said.

  • Blue_line_decal_max50

    crlittle554

    about 3 years ago

    506 Comments

    I have to disagree with the TMPA guy... How about wording it as, you don't fire a guy for going to save the lives of other officers (or citizens). And that's as simple as it gets. Even if he was a disciplinary problem, he was going to SAVE LIVES. You don't fire people for saving lives. Ultimately, that's what this job is about. If these people can't figure that out then their university doesn't need to have a PD.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    harris7877

    about 3 years ago

    24 Comments

    Also, the statement by the TMPA guy is ignorant..Call him in and talk to him?...only fire him if he is a disciplinary problem?...Officers get fired for cowardice for not going to calls like this...GEEZ

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    harris7877

    about 3 years ago

    24 Comments

    Ok, I never comment on this stuff, but WHAT THE HELL! This is exactly why it is so hard to be a troop right now, we have these no brain idiots supervising in executive positions. Also, the two officers on campus who didn't respond should be disciplined. An officer goes down, much less two at the same time, you GO...!!! MY GOD how much longer until I can retire...

  • Img_1155_max50

    Ashurbanipal

    about 3 years ago

    74 Comments

    Wow. I really don't even have anything to say. Bad call, Rice.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 3 years ago

    The campus administration feels that Ofcr Sedmak's foremost duty was to the college campus and its students. By responding to a call about an armed standoff so close to the campus was a choice not only to protect fellow officers but to protect the college and its students. The reasoning behind the firing is flawed and the punishment is excessive. Also, Ofcr Sedmak is quoted as saying he did make contact through his cell phone and can prove that not only did he contact dispatcher, but his superior called him back. Ofcr Sedmak I wish you the best and I hope you fight this and beat it.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    newman252

    about 3 years ago

    2 Comments

    Rice U needs to look at this the other way around. What if the tables were turned? What if Rice happened to be the scene of the next deranged gunman shooting at students. Do they think the three on duty officers can handle it alone? And what if Houston Police Officers did not respond to assist in fear of losing their jobs for leaving their posts, even though I highly doubt they would even consider not responding to a brother in need. Officer Sedmak you can be my wingman anytime!

  • Incar_max50

    ksimp

    about 3 years ago

    28 Comments

    Absolutely ridiculous. Sedmak, I hope you find a different department that appreciates someone responding for help, especially when you were so close. As a fellow officer, I appreciate what you did and hope you continue to do the same in the future. My hats off to you sir.

  • Doc_max50

    maisenhower

    about 3 years ago

    26 Comments

    this is BS I think the university is full of S### that officer should never been fired. I do know that he will get a job in a heart beat with a better department that will show him better respect.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Tango913

    about 3 years ago

    18 Comments

    I'm sure this all stems from a potential liability issue. No doubt the "distraught" family of the sh**bag is going to sue everybody involved. This is how an administration without the b**ls and courage to go to bat for their own handles things. "Hey, he violated policy and we sh*tcanned him so we are not responsible in any way Mrs. Sh**bag. We are so terribly sorry for your loss and we will offer a full scholarship to all of his children once you locate the mothers of all of them, we will be here for you!"

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    chrissheridan1

    about 3 years ago

    4 Comments

    This is a good example of what is wrong with America, and all too often in Law Enforcement today. Rice University is just worrying about covering there but over the off chance that some idiot will question the safety of there students. If one officer responding in his or next to his area, to two officers down for one hour affects the saftey of the student, then Rice University has more important problems to worry about. Rice University should use this as a positive gold star to there Police Department. They should not only support and congratulate this officer but tell the parents of the students" Look this is the type of officers we have protecting your children". After all what if that person was heading to the school. Would you rather the police delt with this on campus or outside the gate. Wake up people and stop tying the hands of all Law Enforcement agencys around the U.S.A. Rice University you need to check yourself. Great job David, your brothers in Blue are with you and we Thank You.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Billmc972

    about 3 years ago

    58 Comments

    The universty has a bunch of IDIOTS on the board.If it was one of their family members in the bus station at the time of the incident,they would have wanted every available officer no matter from what department there to assist.

  • Imagesca4xarl3gatekeeper911_max50

    RAMBO_911

    about 3 years ago

    68986 Comments

    Ridiculous ! Starting to be the Norm these Days.

  • Jws-uscsa_max50

    wstuddard

    about 3 years ago

    26 Comments

    This is a low blow, but not a shock coming from a university's management. Probably the only thing worst than being subject to elected city officials who know nothing about policing is being subject to a bunch of educators who are not only equally ignorant about such matters, but who are most likely embarassed by the fact they even have a police department. It's the sheep and sheepdog thing - the sheep hate the sheepdog until the wolf appears. He's better off with another department. Should make the remaining officers for RU rethink who they work for.

  • Lwrci_max600_max50

    PTL010

    about 3 years ago

    602 Comments

    I think HPD should find a way to hire him. Nice work brother, hope everything works out for you...be safe.

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