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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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  • Edit2_max50

    Tassin_2164

    about 3 years ago

    120 Comments

    SMH Thats just ridunculous...

  • Usmc_rifle_team_match_max50

    jhall41

    about 3 years ago

    70 Comments

    After reviewing many resumes over a long period of time one becomes quick to identify red flags. Termination with cause like dereliction of duty is a real show stopper. Too much at risk and way too many excellent candidates to pick from to take the chance. Why hasn’t he applied somewhere else if he was dissatisfied and if so, why wasn’t he hired if he’s so valuable? I would wager there is a lot more to the story like maybe he was already on probation and had used up all his free passes. Could be he failed to call in because he knew his detail was working short and the request would be denied. This could have been his big break and he was on the phone with his agent about a book deal. Maybe he was passed over for promotion and he has an attitude problem with working with his boss or chain of command because he doesn’t think they’re worthy. Who hasn’t had those thoughts but find a way to work through it? Could be at his age he has now, 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. We don’t know from the article where he’s accumulated his experience in LE, how many employers he’s had or reasons for leaving. Too many unknowns at this point to make a snap judgment and condemn the University or his commanders’ decision. In the meantime, for a critical position, I’d keep interviwing and pull another ap from the pile.

  • 174_ada_bde_patch_max50

    baghdaddy

    about 3 years ago

    20 Comments

    Absolutley astounding. I hope he finds another job soon. I am certain there is not Union at the RUPD and there was most likely some academic administrator that was behind this decision. Not a LE administrator.

  • Gin_halloween_2007_041_max50

    vernon_eldred63

    about 3 years ago

    180 Comments

    Its a shame a fellow Officer,a17 year veteran was fired in an assist case.Why did'nt the union take the University to Court as the Officer acted on impulse as part of the training provided.

  • Herosonpatrol_max50

    BeachAngel

    about 3 years ago

    5892 Comments

    He should have called it in/gotten approval first, but still "fired" is too harsh Chief! Give him his employment back. Maybe other departments shouldn't come to your aid. Not happy about this instance, not right for this officer & w/17 years on force at that, C'mon Chief get real.. & re-think your courses of action...

  • Usmc_rifle_team_match_max50

    jhall41

    about 3 years ago

    70 Comments

    What is interesting about some of these posts is the difference in tone from those who have been in a leadership or command positions and those who have not. The ones that have understand the ramifications of a member abandoning their post. The world is a lot different when you have the responsibility for the mission and for the lives of your team members. Many units’ military, LE and even in sports train hard as a team. Those who think and operate as individuals or loose cannons usually are released to go do something else they always wanted to do at some point. Not everyone packs the gear for a team job. In life and death situations everyone needs to know they can count on their team members to know their job, be responsible, respect their chain of command and are capable of making sound decisions under duress. Abandoning their post without being properly relieved is a sure fired confidence killer. Those who see no harm by his actions can put him on their team. Sounds kind of harsh but as a team leader, I’ll take a pass on him.

  • Imag1641_max50

    Twinker

    about 3 years ago

    1776 Comments

    Sidt bump

  • Greensboroskyline_max50

    tjobrien

    about 3 years ago

    36 Comments

    In today's society, this doesn't surprise me much.

  • 429152_383382448343019_100000138007755_1715744_714908712_n_max50

    ArMy_MP

    about 3 years ago

    122 Comments

    Ridiculous..

  • Bbq_veh_ops_max50

    Sidt

    about 3 years ago

    110 Comments

    David Sedmak in my and many others eyes, you were done WRONG! You did what ANY law enforcement officer with a conscious would do. You responded to an OFFICER ASSIST (OFFICER's SHOT) call.
    Rice University Police Chief Bill Taylor need to rethink his actions, because he looks like a BIG ASSHOLE for taking extreme actions in firing him.
    Discipline action for leaving his coverage area might be warranted, even though other officers were on duty and NOTHING happened at the University while he was assisting the Houston officer.
    KUDOS to the HPOU for providing a $2,500 support check for Sedmak and his family.
    I would strongly suggest that David Sedmak find another University to send his son (I believe he said) to get his higher education.

  • Img_0103_max50

    LAWMANTUKES

    about 3 years ago

    6976 Comments

    "Bump" To all of my LEO Brothers and Sisters here in the Community, that has come together to express their outrage over this incident.

  • 1211120858_max50

    FreezeP

    about 3 years ago

    1456 Comments

    I just got off the phone with the Chief of Police at Rice University. After giving him my opinion on the officer that was fired, The chief stated " trust me the newspaper isn't giving the whole story and after a 2week investigation its more to it than just what the paper is printing" Well if thats true chief then you need to get the truth out there and not play politics, after all you did say you have been in law enforcement for more than 20 years and you have alot of friends in Washington D.C. What the hell does your friends in Washington D.C. have to do with this?

  • Good_ole_days_max50

    latinrum

    about 3 years ago

    94 Comments

    Do you really think that three officers would have been able to contain the entire University, if the Sh** hit the fan? No, I guarantee you that H.P.D. and other surrounding Agencies would have assisted. This is what happens when officers do not spend enough time out in the streets and quickly climb up the Supervisor ladder. They live in a world where everything is perfect on paper. Let’s see if you want to know where Officer Sedmak is, his vehicle is equipped with a GPS locator. I am not saying he was not wrong in advising dispatch of his location but, does this really merit firing him? The University must have loads of money because to train a new recruit is not cheap. This is the part of Law Enforcement that I do not miss. I miss that thing that drove Officer Sedmak to assist a fellow officer for who knows one day that my be you needing the assistance. Not better feeling than the sound of the Calvary coming in to help!!

  • Hit_max50

    seraph313

    about 3 years ago

    36 Comments

    We're hiring. I'd be happy to work with Ofc. Sedmark.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Dreday102

    about 3 years ago

    4 Comments

    how would the university fill if houston police department didnt help them out when there officers are in trouble and need help to control the students when they go crazy and riot after games. he is wrong for leaving his post but he had a goooooooood reason why

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