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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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  • Suit_max50

    cmm07r

    about 3 years ago

    1026 Comments

    This is like a new low to WTF moments. I can see a slap on the wrist for leaving jurisdiction or what not, but to be fired from it is unreal. The local city I live in has an agreement with a neighboring city that they can cross jurisdictions in times needed; but if we get an officer down or major shooting in progress we get officers from 3-5 cities over (sometimes nearby counties) flying lights and sirens to help the officers. That's how it should be, having each others backs with no questions or hesitations.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    reaper278

    about 3 years ago

    2 Comments

    This is a bunch of crap in my book. They shouldn't fire the man for following his instincts and wanting to help his fellow officers. Rice university just made a huge mistake by doing this and i hope Sedmak gets a much better job where they appreciate his dedication and hard work!

  • Esu_patch_max50

    esu

    about 3 years ago

    498 Comments

    When I worked at a Univ in NJ we had a policy of backing up Newark PD on radio runs in the vicinity of the campus. We also routinely answered calls in roughly a 1 block radius of the campus. Kudos to Officer Sedmak, he could work with me anytime!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    radarcop

    about 3 years ago

    254 Comments

    All I have to say is - I hope this officer from Rice gets a job where they praise good work and I am sure he would have done the same thing all over again as long it was to help a fellow officer. If I was another officer at Rice - I surely would be looking for a better place to work. What does the Chief at Rice have to say about all this? Can't comment or he will get fired too? A Job like that is not worth having!

  • Angel_kincaid_park_2014_max50

    AKangel

    about 3 years ago

    4972 Comments

    This disgusts me, So you are in the area and can respond for back up and to save an officer Life, yet run the risk of loosing your livelyhood, Disgusting!
    Sedmak you did what you were trained to do, back up fellow officers in need. Bless you Sir.
    I hope you are re instated, if you would even work for that agency again. very sad.....

  • 2008_masonic_coin_max50

    skanea1

    about 3 years ago

    958 Comments

    My son is a LEO in a town with a MAJOR University. Their policy is NO BACKUP unless it is on University property. If the officer failed to call in his status, that's a serious booboo. But to fire him? Just doesn't sound right.

  • Casey_max50

    tlwinkles379

    about 3 years ago

    2428 Comments

    This is ridiculous. My policy has always been that if another officer is calling for help and I know where they are, I'm going. I don't care who you work for or what the consequences are. We have to stick together and I say you are a hero. You will have no problem finding another position. Any administrator worth there grain will see right through this crap.

  • Illegal_max50

    Raider11

    about 3 years ago

    48 Comments

    Maybe the Peace Officer Oath at Rice, is ONLY to protect and serve Rice University's students and faculty and not to help anyone else. I know where I dont want to be. Listening to the tapes, it was a confusing situation like most are, and 1. If you are anywhere close you go, thats a citizen responsibility, not just for a Police Officer of Houston, and 2. Since he was that close, and the suspect is running, clearly stated on the tapes, what a better place to hide than a campus. TX has a record of Campus shooters. The way I see it, he helped is fellow brothers, and in a round about way, protected the campus from a would be gunman. He did the right thing, and all Police Officers are grateful, and God knows that too, he will be alright. This is a blessing, I feel bad for Rice U, they will be a bottom of the barrel Dept for a LONG time. I won't work where I can't help ALL people, not just people of the bosses choosing.

  • Az_phx_motorcade1a_max50

    Bury

    about 3 years ago

    1342 Comments

    OFC SEDMAK IS ON POLICELINK AND COMMENTED ON THIS CONVERSTATION!! TAKE A LOOK BELOW! HE DID CALL HIS DISPATCHER!!

  • Car_004_max50

    copper380

    about 3 years ago

    2026 Comments

    Wether he was a problem officer or not DOES NOT MATTER. I could care less how much trouble an officer has been in if I need help. He did the right thing....PERIOD!! A human life is more important than any policy. If the admin. was looking for a reason to fire him they definately picked the wrong situation, it makes RU look like a bunch of idiots! GOD BLESS YOU BROTHER!! We get paid to make decisions and risk everything when THAT call comes, This officer is a shining example of what we should do, problem child or not........by his actions I lean toward NOT.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    GDM

    about 3 years ago

    2 Comments

    After 30 + years in Law Enforcement and two tours in Viet Nam (USMC) I find it hard to believe that termination was the answer for what this office (supposedly) did wrong. Where is the "Progressive Discipline" that so many agency swear by!
    In my last twenty years I was involved in two shootings, and a third Bank Robber shot at myself and another officer ten times......missing both of us, after killing one of our earlier (female) partners just seconds before we arrived!
    For that Officer to respond so quickly to a "active shooter"..."Officer(s) Down call"..........I say......"Thanks for having a pair"..............hope your Agency grows some soon!!

  • Mpd_patch_max50

    smcculley

    about 3 years ago

    130 Comments

    Absurd. Terrible. and about a dozen other adjectives that I can't type loudly enough. Reminds me of the time my entire squad got written up for going to another precinct (same department) to respond to a shooting scene where a Lt. was calling for "every available unit" to assist. I hate the pencil necked, bean counting beauracracy.

  • Policememorial---a_max50

    Collegecop_WA

    about 3 years ago

    2380 Comments

    I've been steaming about this all night. This is friggin outrageous. My understanding is that RUPD officers are certified Texas peace officers, and thus can enforce Texas laws anywhere in the state under Texas law. The "out of his jurisdiction" beef is pure bullshit! The administrator who dismissed Sedmak is an idiot, yet another case of an educated fool working in our higher education system. Sedmak is a cop, and when a cop hears an officer calling for help he responds - end of story. If RUPD calls for help with an active shooter or officer down call, who shows up? HPD and every sheriff's deputy, constable and state trooper within the area who can respond. Just like in this case, a shots fired, officer down call and Sedmak did his duty.

    If I were the Chief in Houston I would have offered Sedmak a job on the spot once I heard about what those asinine jackwagons at Rice University did.

  • Usmc_1_max50

    topharris

    about 3 years ago

    28 Comments

    To StanfieldS
    Very well put, and you're right there may be more to the story, however, if RUPD was not willing to comment on the specifics, then maybe they should not have commented at all about dereliction of duty and left it at,"we do not comment on personnel matters." By saying what they said they give the impression the actions resulted from this incident. They even went so far as to make comments "out of respect for Houston P.D." Really?
    I get the terrorism possibilities and I understand the protocols, but after the fact commonsense should be the word of the day and the situation should be evaluated on the merits of this incident. Liability is an ever present concern, I get that. We can't be afraid of liability, however, it is the burden of the profession and we need to account for it using the commonsense I spoke of earlier. Just a thought.

  • 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

    Read more: http://www.ktrh.com/pages/michaelberry.html#ixzz1Oh6fjkw8

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