Print

News >> Browse Articles >> Law Enforcement News

-185

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.

Ds_max200w

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.


-185
  • Badge_max50

    E25_LSP

    about 3 years ago

    80 Comments

    Good job, Officer Sedmak. I would expect nothing less from a professional LEO such as yourself!!! I'm quite sure that every LEO that heard the "CALL" rolled on it. I would be surprised to learn that you would even consider your job back with that bunch of clowns. There are many great Departments in around Houston that would be honored to welcome you aboard! Godd luck and God Speed!!!!

  • Police_skeleton_max600_max50

    rchandler24

    about 3 years ago

    10 Comments

    I agree to all of these responses. These idiots don't understand what goes through an officers head during a distress call from fellow officers. Discipline maybe but fire, NO! The chief is just a moron!!! Ofc. Sedmak was just responding to help other officers in distress. What was he suppose to do, listen to it over the readio and hope everything turned out ok. I support you 110% Ofcr. Sedmak. Yes, the other officers are hero's but you are one as well. You put your own life at risk by responding to aide these two and that makes you one in my eyes. With the support you are receiving, getting another job should not be an issue. If Rice University realizes what they did was wrong, I think you should tell them to get lost. Commen sence should tell those morons the difference between right and wrong but what I've seen, theres not that much there. Good luck and I hope your back on the street soon.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 3 years ago

    I hope he doesn't get his job back at the university. I hope that he gets picked up by another policy agency that uses some common sense. There always needs to be a balance between the spirit of the law and the letter of the law. It seems that common sense was lost in the rules here.

  • Ralphie_max50

    rafaelmorales

    about 3 years ago

    2994 Comments

    All i can say from here is what jackass in this University has the mind set that a police officer can call just to tell u that he is on an emergency call with shots fired. Lets hope he gets his job back. You are a hero in my eyes. Good Luck..

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 3 years ago

    This sounds like behavior typical of some Universities whose apparent lack of "education" when it comes to law enforcement constantly cause problems for their own pd's. The story sounds like some key facts have been omitted. Another typical trait of Universities, feeding the masses, especially students and thier families B.S. to support their own agenda, and keep the tuition flowing.. A cop goes down, you go, end of story. I worked for Universities for years before entering municipal service. I know what I'm talking about. Ultimately this will be good for him, he'll hopefully get picked up by an agency with some integrity in it's leadership. Good luck brother.

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50

    Whalewatcher

    about 3 years ago

    11194 Comments

    Sounds like he was fired for something that other officers from his department had done in the past without getting in trouble over it, and if there was ever a call to respnd to, an "officer down" call is it !! If he has a good record during his employment at Rice, this wasn't the right call in this instance. Maybe, there's some office politics going on here that wasn't in the story.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    medcab1

    about 3 years ago

    6 Comments

    Rice University could have stated "This is the kind of character and dedication we admire in our police officers. An officer that put his life on the line to save a human being in a potentially deadly situation. We are proud of Officer Sedmak's actions and moral fiber." -That would have been great PR for the College. Every police oficer is called upon to PRESERVE life when possible.

    Delete

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    macwhiting

    about 3 years ago

    2 Comments

    If you are outraged by this as I am, file a complaint with the ethics dept at Rice University. Who knows what may happen, but at least the University will be aware that this incident casts a dark shadow on their actions.

  • Apex_20pd_20fb_2001012138_1_

    APEXPROUD

    about 3 years ago

    4396 Comments

    OFFICER SEDMAK SHOLD BE PROUD OF WHAT HE DID !!! AS FOR THE REASON POSSIBLY HIM LEAVING ENDANGERED THE STUDENTS AND CAMPUS THAT IS JUST LAME !!! KUDO'S TO HOUSTON PD OFFICERS FOR STANDING IN SUPPORT FOR HIM

  • Flags_and_stars_max50

    djs2v

    about 3 years ago

    5628 Comments

    WOW!!!!

  • Img00015-20101105-1530_max50

    thev8man

    about 3 years ago

    1828 Comments

    wow Rice University has really got there head up there butt. Why would you fire an 17 year veteran of the force for possibly saving two lives? so if a policy said the no other police department can aid Rice university what would the university do? I ll tell you they would gripe and moun about mutual aid and community relations. Give the cop his job back.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    KRS1970

    about 3 years ago

    40 Comments

    the motto 'courtesy, service and protection' means what????

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 3 years ago

    I also sent a copy of my email to the Rice University Police Department at dispatch@rice.edu
    I wanted to make sure the Chief of Police got a copy so that he would know what I think about him. Here is what I wrote it regards to the Chief of Police:
    I wanted to also make it clear that I have no respect for your Chief of Police. If he does not understand why Officer Sedmak did what he did and will not stand up for his officer, he has no business in law enforcement. His reaction to this situation should have been along the lines, "My officer did exactly what he should have done by going to the aid of fellow officers in distress. He is a hero for putting himself in harm’s way to protect others' lives. He is the kind of officer we are proud to have representing our university. However, he did violate department policy by not calling in to dispatch and for that he will receive training/coaching. Being a police officer myself, I understand how he got caught up in the moment and failed to notify dispatch. We just want to make sure that does not happen in the future. So I will be making sure all officers at our department are reminded of our policy on notifying a supervisor in situations like this."

    If you wanted to put Rice University on the map, you have done it now. Because of this story, everyone in the world knows about Rice University. If you look at all the posts and comments on the internet regarding this story, you will see that absolutely no one supports what you did and they now have a negative view of you. I believe the only way you can recover is to do the right thing and reinstate Officer Sedmak (though I can't understand why he would want to work for you). You might consider terminating your Chief of Police and letting everyone know you were simply relying on his bad judgment in this case.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 3 years ago

    I called Rice University to express my outrage over Officer Sedmak's termination. I spoke to a woman in H.R. She asked that I send an email, so I did. You may want to do the same. The email address is people@rice.edu

  • 20140124_202252_max50

    cowboykurtz

    about 3 years ago

    184 Comments

    I have to agree with TMPA, Kevin Lawrence. Officer down call, all available Law Enforcement personel should respond to assist.

PoliceLink School Finder

Save time in your search for a criminal justice degree program. Use PoliceLink's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.

Get Info

* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.

Recent Activity

Female_bodysurfer_max30
MarlyB posted in: "What has happened to my Police Link?", 23 minutes ago.
Gods_team_max30
IowaNinersFan submitted the article: "Man arrested, charged with kidnapping Maine teen", about 1 hour ago.
Gods_team_max30
IowaNinersFan gave a thumbs down to The Article "Iowa teacher accused of sexual contact with teen", about 1 hour ago.