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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.


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.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 3 years ago

    It is obvious that Rice is simply making an example of this man.Campus Police or city Police he was doing his duty as he saw fit.Hope this inane decision is overturned.In my city the S.O.P. mannuel stated the two closest districts and a command car responds to an Officer Down.We NEVER followed that but everybody and I mean everybody responded.Nobody ever got fired ,suspended or had to file a report.27 units responded when I was shot and I was Da-n thrilled to see them.---Rice is way way out of line.

  • Est_training_with_kansas_city_metro_037_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Liberal college BS. I would never work for a school, the admin is frequently too "smart" to have any common sense.

  • Larry_apache_dist_13_max50


    about 3 years ago


    That's the problem being the a Campus Police Officer, the college/university smart asses just want you to be a security guard. I didn't know that your police officer status ended at the campus entrance. Yes he should have asked for the supervisor's approval if available. The article states that he failed to notify his supervisor for an hour, I guess they didn't have much radio traffic on Saturday,May 7th and he was monitoring his radio for traffic. I guess the other 37 times that they assisted other police agencies were also a dereliction of duty, but no one got fired!!!!! Must be something missing in this story!!!!!!!!!

    USLEGAL.COM definition

    Dereliction of duty generally refers to a failure to conform to rules of one's job, which will vary by tasks involved. It is a failure or refusal to perform assigned duties in a satisfactory manner. Dereliction of duty on the part of an employee may be cause for disciplinary action, which will vary by employer

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 3 years ago


    As a front line supervisor I would have been beside him on that assist. If he hadn't gone, I would have pulled him aside and privately chewed him up onside and down the other. We need each other out here. Now on the other hand if he went and didn't tell me about it (I have to worry about him and all my Officers safety. where they are etc.) I would have privately chewed his ass and then told him I'm proud he stood tall for a fellow officer and sent him back to work. It wouldn't have even merited paper let alone firing.

  • Picture_100_max50


    about 3 years ago


    There is always more to a story, but this seems to be a huge breach of justice.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 3 years ago


    Unacceptable. Does anyone know what is being done to help?

  • Fallenherobadge-3-1_max50_max50


    about 3 years ago


    This Office made a decision to go help out a Brother LEO. No matter what, that is the bottom line. If he did violate Policy then handle it in a manner that fits. Was there any calls at Rice? Not according to this article. Was there anyone looking to make sure Officer Sedmak was not hurt himself? Not according to this article. Did Rice University even attempt to contact him for any reason? Again not according to this article. Did Rice University call other agencies requesting help to find a possible down Officer? Again not according to this article.

    I was taught whatever your employees do or fail to do is a direct reflection on the leadership. Now having said that I did not read anywhere in this article anything about the Supervisors getting hammered for their employee not working within the Policy.

    No where in this article does it say this problem will be addressed in the very near future to ensure this type of situation does not happen again when a Officer Down call is heard. NO OFFICER should EVER have to worry about getting fired when they respond to this type of call when they are out there helping another LEO.

  • Dsc00052_max50


    about 3 years ago


    JHall41....I'm afraid your earlier paradigm is correct.......If all you're accountable for as an officer is yourself, than this discipline seems agregious......If, however, you've been in command of operations that fell short due to officer's independant actions, you grasp this event entirely differently. I ask every officer to answer this question honestly; If your fill officer was unavailable to you when you needed him most and a serious injury resulted, would you accept his self-dispatching to a SCANNER call as a valid excuse? What if your daughter, a Sophmore at Rice University, was the victim of a horrific crime on campus....would you still be comfortable with a Rice officer going to a call he was not dispatched to and not available to assist your daughter? I understand the emotions here, but the totality of his actions (not the reason behind them) are the issue. Though, as previously stated, I would hope there was another discipline alternative to termination.

  • Photo_user_banned_big


    about 3 years ago


    Exactly 95Z car !!!!

  • 1051193310_l_max50


    about 3 years ago


    “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.” I take exception to this comment as well as the actions of Rice University! Why should he even be counseled? Training opportunity? How about the other Univ Cop who didn't respond, in my opinion he is the one who needs training! Going to aid an Officer down is what we do, why? Because no one else will!

  • 100_1019_max50


    about 3 years ago


    What a bunch of BS!! I can't believe this crap!! Rice University, FU!!!

  • C1__67__max50


    about 3 years ago


    Bump Sidt

  • Photo_user_banned_big


    about 3 years ago


    jhall41 you should show more respect!! Rice Universtity boooooooo !!!! I feel sorry for the Officer he is going to find a better Job !!!

  • 6013_1126614444162_1191202639_30343822_2791511_n_max50


    about 3 years ago


    @ JHALL41:

    Your point is mute! I have personally worked with this Officer for a few years before his switch to Rice University, he is a great Officer with a world of experiance. he is not the type to throw "red flags" nor is he the type that "after 17 years, developed issues with having to report to a civilian employer and not out in the sh_t with the real action heroes" He is an true citizen's Officer, and very respectable. See, what I dont get is what kind of person you are. you read an article that shows David's short commings and instantly make assumptions.... and we all know what assumptions are. Maybe you have been behid that desk of yours too long and forgot what it is like to strap on that ole sam browne, or maybe you just have developed a stigma against beat cops, either way. your disresect for an Officer who runs to the call of "shots fired, officer down" is not wanted or warranted! goes back to the old saying of "if ya aint got nothing nice to say, dont say nothing at all!" just my two cents, and since I spent it on you, i have to go make another hours wages.

    Dave, if you read this forum, you did a great job bro you should go back to the Island where you belong now that ole Chief Chucky is gone. A+ job bro and we all have your back around here!

  • Christmas_2010_038_max50


    about 3 years ago


    SMH Thats just ridunculous...
    Yup ther is something more than just not reporting for an hour. Communications are a two way deal. Firing is a heavy handed way of dealing with something.

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